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Research and teaching centre
environmental geosciences
Research and teaching centre
environmental geosciences


The MioCarb project aims to understand the development of the modern carbon cycle between the end of the Miocene and the beginning of the Pliocene (10-4 Ma), a period of global climate change.

Indeed, in this time interval, a global decrease in temperature and an increase in the latitudinal temperature gradient of marine surface waters are linked to a strong decrease in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Between 9 Ma and 4 Ma, an increase in carbonate and siliceous oceanic sedimentary fluxes called Biogenic Bloom is observed synchronously with this climate change.

Pelagic carbonate production - an important system in the carbon cycle - results mainly from the activity of calcareous nannoplankton, photosynthetic algae producing micrometric calcareous plates of which coccoliths are a part. Biogenic bloom is therefore characterised by an increase in the rate of accumulation of calcareous nannofossils.

However, a change in the macroevolutionary dynamics of calcareous nannoplankton marked by a decrease in their diversity and a decrease in the size of nannofossils is also observed in this time interval. A series of important macroevolutionary and biogeochemical modifications therefore took place in a few million years during the transition of the carbon cycle in the Upper Miocene-Lower Pliocene. The MioCarb project seeks to understand the origin of the Biogenic Bloom and its impact on the carbon cycle.

In order to answer these questions, several complementary approaches will be implemented in the form of three research axes:

. quantification of calcium carbonate and organic matter accumulation rates and calcareous nannofossils by taking into account their abundance and mass over 10 oceanic boreholes. This part of the project will use methods for the quantification of CaCO3 by automated calcimetry and TOC by elemental analyser. The quantification of the absolute abundance of calcareous nannofossils and their mass is based on the acquisition of an automated optical microscope and the use of the artificial intelligence coccolith recognition system (SYRACO) developed at CEREGE. This study will therefore assess the impact of macroevolutionary and paleoceanographic changes on pelagic sedimentary production during the Biogenic Bloom.

. quantification of calcium carbonate accumulation rates on a global scale over an ocean drilling array. This part of the project will focus on exploring the abundant data from ocean drilling campaigns and using recent ocean basin reconstructions by the Australian EarthByte team. It will also quantify the evolution of the CCD and especially the pelagic sediment budgets and the amount of carbon buried during the Biogenic Blooms. . the climate modelling study taking into account the climatic, biological, sedimentary and geographical specificities of the late Miocene in order to identify the origin of the Biogenic Blooms and its impact on the carbon cycle.

This project is led by a multidisciplinary scientific team composed of micropalaeontologists, palaeoceanographers, sedimentologists, climate modeller, automated optical microscopy engineer and micropalaeontology laboratory technician from CEREGE, AMU and the University of Sydney.

2022-2025: ANR JCJC MioCarb

CEREGE lead :
Baptiste Suchéras-MarxAlexis Licht

The Mio-Pliocene transition: setting up the modern carbon cycle

Partners CEREGE, AMU

Foreign collaborators: University of Sydney