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A dinoflagellate cyst record from the highly resolved Chiba composite section in Japan has been used to reconstruct sea-surface paleoceanographic changes across the Lower–Middle Pleistocene Subseries (Calabrian–Chibanian Stage) boundary at the global stratotype, constituting the first detailed study of this microfossil group from the Pleistocene of the Japanese Pacific margin. Cold, subarctic water masses from 794.2 ka gave way to warming and rapid retreat of the Subpolar Front at 789.3 ka, ~ 2000 years before the end of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 20. Throughout the fully interglacial conditions of MIS 19c, assemblages are consistent with warm sea surface temperatures but also reveal instability and latitudinal shifts in the Kuroshio Extension system. The abrupt dominance of Protoceratium reticulatum cysts between 772.9 and 770.4 ka (MIS 19b) registers the influence of cooler, mixed, nutrient-rich waters of the Kuroshio–Oyashio Interfrontal Zone resulting from a southward shift of the Kuroshio Extension. Its onset at 772.9 ka serves as a local ecostratigraphic marker for the Chibanian Stage Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) which occurs just 1.15 m (= 1300 years) below it. An interval from 770.1 ka to the top of the examined succession at 765.8 ka (MIS 19a) represents warm, presumably stratified but still nutrient-elevated surface waters, indicating a northward shift of the Kuroshio Extension ~ 5 kyrs after the termination of full interglacial conditions on land. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
Balota, E. J., Head, M. J., Okada, M., Suganuma, Y., & Haneda, Y. (2021). Paleoceanography and dinoflagellate cyst stratigraphy across the Lower–Middle Pleistocene Subseries (Calabrian–Chibanian Stage) boundary at the Chiba composite section, Japan. Progress in Earth and Planetary Science, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40645-021-00438-3