The Paleogene section in the GCP consists of a thick sequence of mostly unconsolidated, mixed carbonate and siliciclastic deposits from marginal and fully marine, shelf environments interspersed with fluvio-deltaic sediments (39, 40). Marine mollusk faunas have been studied for well over a century and enjoy a consistent and comprehensive taxonomy (41). Paleontologists have long recognized clusters of first and last appearances in these deposits, the largest of which are associated with major regional regressions and form the basis for GCP lithostratigraphic group boundaries (42, 43). The Paleocene-Eocene boundary lies not at one of these turnovers, but within the Wilcox Group (Fig. 1), already suggesting that PETM taxonomic change may not be as significant as elsewhere in the section (13).

Sluijs et al. (14) have placed the PETM between the abundantly fossiliferous shell beds of the BLM of the Tuscahoma Formation below and the BM of the overlying Hatchetigbee Formation above; intervening sediments are sparsely to nonfossiliferous with regard to mollusks. They argue that the PETM CIE (<150 ka) (44), encompassing the most extreme environmental conditions, has been removed to varying degrees by subsequent erosion at the base of the BM across the GCP, consistent with expectation in dynamic sedimentary environments (12). Therefore, the PETM in the GCP is closely bracketed by diverse mollusk assemblages separated by no more than 1 million years (45, 46), but there are no mollusks yet known from the CIE itself. Nevertheless, while the transient, immediate response to warming is unavailable for study, any lasting impact of the PETM on these faunas should be readily apparent.

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