Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Response of subtropical submarine-cave ecosystem to Holocene cave development and Asian monsoon variability

  • Wing-Tung Ruby Chiu (a1), Moriaki Yasuhara (a1), Hokuto Iwatani (a1), Akihisa Kitamura (a2) and Kazuhiko Fujita (a3)...

A submarine cave is a unique environment that is dark, food limited, semi-isolated from the outside, and sheltered from wave action. However, our knowledge of the long-term change in submarine-cave ecosystems remains limited. We document here the community-scale responses toward long-term change in a submarine cave, Daidokutsu in Okinawa in southern Japan. Using both metazoans (ostracods and bivalves) and protozoans (larger benthic foraminiferans) in two sediment cores obtained from the cave, we reconstruct the faunal and diversity changes of the past 7 Kyr. All taxonomic groups showed long-term, gradual linear change of faunal composition from predominantly open-water taxa to predominantly cave taxa, and ostracods showed short-term variability of species diversity. The long-term faunal trend probably reflects gradual isolation of the cave ecosystem due to coral reef development (i.e., development of the cave ceiling) during periods of the Holocene transgression and subsequent sea-level highstand. The short-term diversity changes show substantial similarity to centennial- to millennial-scale Holocene Asian monsoon variability. Ostracod species diversity peaks tend to correspond with periods of strong East Asian winter monsoons. The results indicate that limestone submarine-cave ecosystems, an important cryptic habitat, developed gradually during the Holocene and may be sensitive to rapid climate changes.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

W.-T. R. Chiu , M. Yasuhara , H. Iwatani , A. Kitamura , and K. Fujita . 2016. An enigmatic Holocene podocopid ostracod from a submarine cave, Okinawa, Japan: “living fossil” or adaptive morphotype. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 14:643652.

P. Garrett , D. L. Smith , A. O. Wilson , and D. Patriquin . 1971. Physiography, ecology, and sediments of two Bermuda patch reefs. Journal of Geology 79:647668.

J. B. C. Jackson , T. F. Goreau , and W. D. Hartman . 1971. Recent brachiopod-coralline sponge communities and their paleoecological significance. Science 173:623625.

Y. Kano , and T. Kase . 2008. Diversity and distributions of the submarine-cave Neritiliidae in the Indo-Pacific (Gastropoda: Neritimorpha). Organisms Diversity and Evolution 8:2243.

T. Kase , and I. Hayami . 1992. Unique submarine cave mollusc fauna: composition, origin and adaptation. Journal of Molluscan Studies 58:446449.

A. Kitamura , M. Hiramoto , T. Kase , N. Yamamoto , M. Amemiya , and S. Ohashi . 2007a. Changes in cavernicolous bivalve assemblages and environments within a submarine cave in the Okinawa Islands during the last 5,000 years. Paleontological Research 11:163182.

A. Kitamura , K. Kobayashi , C. Tamaki , N. Yamamoto , T. Irino , Y. Miyairi , and Y. Yokoyama . 2013. Evidence of recent warming in the Okinawa region, subtropical northwestern Pacific, from an oxygen isotope record of a cave-dwelling marine micro-bivalve. Paleontological Research 17:5868.

A. Kitamura , N. Yamamoto , T. Kase , S.-i. Ohashi , M. Hiramoto , H. Fukusawa , T. Watanabe , T. Irino , H. Kojitani , M. Shimamura , and I. Kawakami . 2007b. Potential of submarine-cave sediments and oxygen isotope composition of cavernicolous micro-bivalve as a late Holocene paleoenvironmental record. Global and Planetary Change 55:301316.

R. F. Maddocks 1969. Recent ostracodes of the family Pontocyprididae chiefly from the Indian Ocean. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 7:156.

J. W. Murray 2000. When does environmental variability become environmental change. Pp. 737 in R. E. Martin, ed. Environmental micropaleontology: the application of microfossils to environmental geology. Springer, Boston, Mass.

A. Omori , A. Kitamura , K. Fujita , K. Honda , and N. Yamamoto . 2010. Reconstruction of light conditions within a submarine cave during the past 7000 years based on the temporal and spatial distribution of algal symbiont-bearing large benthic foraminifers. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 292:443452.

A. D. Rogers 2015. Environmental change in the deep ocean. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 40:138.

T. Sagawa , M. Kuwae , K. Tsuruoka , Y. Nakamura , M. Ikehara , and M. Murayama . 2014. Solar forcing of centennial-scale East Asian winter monsoon variability in the mid- to late Holocene. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 395:124135.

——. R. Tabuki 1999. A new sigillid ostracod from submarine caves of the Ryukyu Islands, Japan. Palaeontology 42:569593.

R. Tabuki , and T. Nohara . 1990. The Ostracoda of the Sekisei-sho area, Ryukyu Islands, Japan: a preliminary report on ostracods from coral reefs in the Ryukyu Islands. Pp. 365377 in R. C. Whatley and C. Maybury, eds. Ostracoda and global events. Chapman and Hall, London.

P. D. Taylor , and T. J. Palmer . 1994. Submarine caves in a Jurassic reef (La Rochelle, France) and the evolution of cave biotas. Naturwissenschaften 81:357360.

T. Ubukata , A. Kitamura , M. Hiramoto , and T. Kase . 2009. A 5000-year fossil record of larval shell morphology of submarine cave microshells. Evolution 63:295300.

P. J. van Hengstum , D. B. Scott , D. R. Gröcke , and M. A. Charette . 2011. Sea level controls sedimentation and environments in coastal caves and sinkholes. Marine Geology 286:3550.

N. Yamamoto , A. Kitamura , A. Ohmori , Y. Morishima , T. Toyofuku , and S. Ohashi . 2009a. Long-term changes in sediment type and cavernicolous bivalve assemblages in Daidokutsu submarine cave, Okinawa Islands: evidence from a new core extending over the past 7,000 years. Coral Reefs 28:967976.

N. Yamamoto , S. Sakai , and A. Kitamura . 2009b. Evaluation of the δ18O value of the submarine cavernicolous micro-bivalve Carditella iejimensis as a proxy for palaeotemperature. Paleontological Research 13:279284.

M. Yasuhara , and T. M. Cronin . 2008. Climatic influences on deep-sea ostracode (Crustacea) diversity for the last three million years. Ecology 89:S53S65.

M. Yasuhara , and R. Danovaro . 2016. Temperature impacts on deep-sea biodiversity. Biological Reviews 91:275287.

M. Yasuhara , G. Hunt , D. Breitburg , A. Tsujimoto , and K. Katsuki . 2012a. Human-induced marine ecological degradation: micropaleontological perspectives. Ecology and Evolution 2:32423268.

M. Yasuhara , G. Hunt , T. M. Cronin , N. Hokanishi , H. Kawahata , A. Tsujimoto , and M. Ishitake . 2012b. Climatic forcing of quaternary deep-sea benthic communities in the North Pacific Ocean. Paleobiology 38:162179.

M. Yasuhara , H. Okahashi , T. M. Cronin , T. L. Rasmussen , and G. Hunt . 2014. Response of deep-sea biodiversity to abrupt deglacial and Holocene climate changes in the North Atlantic Ocean. Global Ecology and Biogeography 23:957967.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0094-8373
  • EISSN: 1938-5331
  • URL: /core/journals/paleobiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 12
Total number of PDF views: 28 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 301 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 5th April 2017 - 21st September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.