Palynology has great potential for providing comparative data and interpretations about changes in biodiversity during the Cretaceous Period. This is especially true for both eastern Asia and western North America because of strong floristic similarities that existed between these regions during Cretaceous time. Also, because palynomorphs of terrestrial origin can be deposited in offshore as well as terrestrial environments, significant potential exists for marine-to-continental palynostratigraphic correlations in both regions. Palynological biostratigraphy can improve the geologic dating of changes in biodiversity. During the Early Cretaceous, eastern Asia and western North America lay within the Cerebropollenites palynofloral province, a circumpolar phytogeographic zone characterized by distinctive palynological assemblages. During most of the Late Cretaceous, these regions lay within the palynofloristically unique Aquilapollenites Province, which was more restricted geographically than the Cerebropollenites Province. The most important development during Cretaceous time that is reflected in palynological assemblages was the rise of the angiosperms as the numerically and ecologically dominant forms of vegetation. The most striking short-term palynofloral event in the two regions was the sudden disappearance of species of Aquilapollenites and associated genera at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary. Both of these occurrences produced major changes in biodiversity in the terrestrial realm. Geologic research in International Geological Correlation Program Project 434 can benefit from applications of palynostratigraphy. Palynologic research within Project 434 could include development of a comprehensive palynostratigraphic zonation for the Cretaceous, the definition of regional palynostratigraphic datums, and investigation of the record of floral change at the K/T boundary. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Biodiversity changes in Cretaceous palynofloras of eastern Asia and western North America