Ice-rafted debris mass accumulation rates (IRD MAR) at a drill site on the Antarctic continental margin are investigated to evaluate the linkages between East Antarctic Ice Sheet extent and Southern Ocean temperatures in the early to mid-Pliocene. ODP Site 1165 is within 400 km of the Antarctic coastline and in the direct pathway of icebergs released by the Amery Ice Shelf. The Amery Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf in East Antarctica and it buttresses the Lambert Glacier drainage system, which accounts for 14% of the outflow from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. IRD MAR were low during peak Southern Ocean warming in the early Pliocene. After a brief precursor, a tenfold increase in IRD MAR at 3.3 Ma marks the termination of the early Pliocene ice sheet minimum, coincident with the M2 glacial. For the mid-Pliocene, a strong correlation exists between the high-amplitude signal in the LR04 benthic stack and IRD MAR, suggesting linkages between East Antarctic ice extent, global ice volume and deep-water temperatures. The IRD record at Site 1165 provides evidence of greater sensitivity of the Lambert Glacier-Amery Ice Shelf system to Southern Ocean warming than is currently predicted by ice sheet models, which may relate to uncertainties in the understanding of ocean heat uptake, poleward heat transport and ice sheet-ocean interactions.