ReviewECOLOGY

Formation of the Isthmus of Panama

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Science Advances  17 Aug 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 8, e1600883
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600883
  • Fig. 1 Uplift of the Isthmus of Panama and global sea levels over the last 20 My.

    Rates of uplift are estimated from changes in the age and depth of deposition of sedimentary units across the Panama Arc (table S1) and are therefore relative to sea level. Eustatic sea-level estimates (light blue and dark red lines) from the study of Miller et al. (131). The dark blue line indicates values averaged within time bins of 250 thousand years (ky) for the 0 to 9 Ma record.

  • Fig. 2 The Isthmus of Panama and northwestern Colombia with locations of some crystalline rocks (igneous and metamorphic) with reported Paleocene-Eocene radiometric ages (squares and triangles).

    Montes et al. (15) proposed that Eocene detrital zircons in middle Miocene sediments of the Magdalena Basin (blue dots) could only be from plutonic rocks of the Panama Arc (dark green outline). However, several other rock units (for example, Western, Central, and Eastern Cordilleras plus the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta; red outlines and table S2) exhibit radiometric ages in the same interval and therefore must also be considered as potential sources. From previous studies (2426, 30, 31, 132).

  • Fig. 3 Timing of divergence between Caribbean (blue) and Tropical Eastern Pacific (red) environments and ecologies in coastal, shallow, and deep waters.

    (A and B) Estimated mean annual range of temperature [MART; a proxy for strength of upwelling estimated by measuring zooid size variation in fossil bryozoan colonies (133)] (A) and the relative skeletal weight of corals and coralline algae (68, 134) (B) in replicated bulk samples from coastal shelf sediments on the Isthmus of Panama. (C and D) Rates of accumulation of carbonate (CMAR) in deep-sea sediments (C) and estimated surface water salinity (reflected in the oxygen isotope record) (D) in Caribbean and Pacific surface waters. (E) Neodymium (Nd) values from fish teeth and foraminifers in Pacific and Caribbean basins (35, 38).

  • Fig. 4 Bayesian estimates of median molecular divergence times of sister taxa on either side of the Isthmus of Panama.

    Only species for which both nuclear DNA and mtDNA data were available and for which divergence ages were calibrated by the fossil record are included. Error bars represent 95% HPDs. Numbers refer to species pairs in table S3.

  • Fig. 5 Frequency of appearances of immigrant vertebrate taxa or their oldest known descendants in opposing continents as observed in well-dated fossiliferous sediments in South and North America per million years.

    See fig. S3 for further details.

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2/8/e1600883/DC1

    fig. S1. The Isthmus of Panama in Tropical America.

    fig. S2. The current day Isthmus of Panama submerged under 150 m of relative sea-level rise.

    fig. S3. Timing of successful terrestrial dispersals between the American continents as observed in the occurrence of fossil remains in the rock record of North and South America.

    video S1. Large rafts form on the Río Chagres, Gamboa, Republic of Panama, on 8 December 2010.

    table S1. Estimates of rates of uplift for the Panama Arc relative to sea level, using changes in estimated median depths and median ages of sedimentary units from previous studies (28, 135149).

    table S2. Compilation of Late Paleocene–Late Eocene ages for the Colombian Andes plotted in Fig. 2.

    table S3. Median and 95% HPD intervals of the time at which members of clades spanning the Isthmus of Panama were separated from each other as estimated by BEAST [1] from phylogenies calibrated by fossils at one or more nodes.

    table S4. Kimura two-parameter distance between mitochondrial genes of sister clades on either side of the Isthmus of Panama.

    text S1. Estimation of date of splitting from molecular divergence.

    References (150227)

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • fig. S1. The Isthmus of Panama in Tropical America.
    • fig. S2. The current day Isthmus of Panama submerged under 150 m of relative sea-level rise.
    • fig. S3. Timing of successful terrestrial dispersals between the American continents as observed in the occurrence of fossil remains in the rock record of North and South America.
    • Legend for video S1
    • table S1. Estimates of rates of uplift for the Panama Arc relative to sea level, using changes in estimated median depths and median ages of sedimentary units from previous studies (28, 135149).
    • table S2. Compilation of Late Paleocene–Late Eocene ages for the Colombian Andes plotted in Fig. 2.
    • table S3. Median and 95% HPD intervals of the time at which members of clades spanning the Isthmus of Panama were separated from each other as estimated by BEAST (151) from phylogenies calibrated by fossils at one or more nodes.
    • table S4. Kimura two-parameter distance between mitochondrial genes of sister clades on either side of the Isthmus of Panama.
    • text S1. Estimation of date of splitting from molecular divergence.
    • References (150227)

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    Other Supplementary Material for this manuscript includes the following:

    • video S1 (.mov format). Large rafts form on the Río Chagres, Gamboa, Republic of Panama, on the 8th of December, 2010.

    Files in this Data Supplement:

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