Evolution of the Oligotrophic West Pacific Warm Pool During the Pliocene-Pleistocene Boundary

Himanshu Bali, Anil K. Gupta, Kuppusamy Mohan, K. Thirumalai, Sameer K. Tiwari, Mruganka K. Panigrahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This study investigates the development of oligotrophic conditions, thickening, and zonal and meridional contraction of the West Pacific Warm Pool (WPWP) during the Pliocene. It has been hypothesized that the evolution of the WPWP and the establishment of strong equatorial Pacific zonal gradients are closely related to the narrowing of the Indonesian Gateway (IG) as well as the closure of the Central American Seaway (CAS). However, the timing of the development of these events remains unclear. Here we report Pliocene-to-Recent relative abundances of planktic foraminifera at Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Site 214 in the eastern Indian Ocean and at Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 807, in the western Pacific. A comparison of the abundance of mixed-layer species (MLS) from both sites indicates a pronounced increase in their population between ~3.15 and 1.6 Ma. There is a contemporaneous decrease in the Globigerinita glutinata population during this time, which together with the MLS data suggest the development of oligotrophic conditions in the western tropical Pacific. Our data suggest that the oligotrophic WPWP, resembling present-day conditions, developed around 3.15 Ma and was closely linked to the gradual constriction of the IG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020PA003875
JournalPaleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Indonesian Gateway
  • mixed-layer species
  • planktic foraminifera
  • Pliocene
  • Pliocene-Pleistocene
  • West Pacific Warm Pool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Palaeontology


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