Radiolarian census and abundance data were collected from three deep-sea cores drilled by the Ocean Drilling Program Sites 884, 887 and 1151 to investigate patterns of ecologic changes in space and time during the last 16 million years for the mid-latitude to subarctic North Pacific. High concentrations of radiolarians occurred between 9.0 and 2.7 Ma. Radiolarian species richness was highest in the early middle Miocene at each site and gradually decreased up to about 7 Ma, coinciding with a well-established global cooling trend. A degree of overlap index calculated for radiolarian assemblages revealed 11 faunal change events, of which 8 corresponded to global cooling events and expansions of polar ice sheets. Three of the faunal change events were observed within the peak of radiolarian accumulation rate and were ascribed to changes in primary productivity in the North Pacific rather than global climatic changes. Our assemblage analyses revealed that north-south differentiation in radiolarian assemblages in the northwestern Pacific has existed since 16 Ma and became more distinct via major steps at 6.8 Ma and 2.7 Ma, coinciding with major glaciation events, and that east-west faunal contrasts in the subarctic region became obvious beginning at 11.7 Ma and changed to a different mode around 6.8 Ma. The observed east-west faunal differences possibly reflect east to west climate differences that were characterized by cooler temperatures in the east than the west during the late Miocene (11.7-6.8 Ma) and then by the opposite temperature trend (6.8 Ma-Recent). A severe glaciation at 2.7 Ma played a large role, particularly in temporal changes in radiolarian accumulation rate and assemblage composition.
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