Stomatal index of Ginkgo biloba as a proxy for atmospheric CO2
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This thesis presents a new calibration of the Ginkgo stomatal index as a proxy for atmospheric CO2 concentrations using leaves from modern Ginkgo biloba herbarium specimens. Scanning electron images were obtained to count stomates and cells on leaves collected between 1829 and 2015. Average stomatal index (SI) was then calculated for each year. SI is defined as #stomates/(#stomates + # epidermal cells)*100. The relationship between stomatal index and atmospheric CO2 can be expressed in an equation following the form recommended by Wynn (2003), as the most likely representation of the physical laws governing CO2 diffusion across stomates. The new fitted equation for determining CO2 from Ginkgo SI is: CO2=205.7+13,630,000 x SI^(-5.224). This new equation is applied to suitably preserved Cenozoic fossil leaves of Ginkgo and results in a downward revision of estimated CO2 levels, while preserving the general shape of greenhouse spikes in the middle Miocene and Eocene. These spikes correlate to climatic warm and wet spikes derived from paleosol evidence during those times.