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Refining ancient carbon dioxide estimates: Significance of coccolithophore cell size for alkenone-based pCO2 records
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geology and Geochemistry.
2007 (English)In: Paleoceanography, ISSN 0883-8305, Vol. 22, no 3, PA3202- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Long-term alkenone-based pCO2 records are widely applied in paleo-climate evaluations. These pCO2 estimates are based on records of the carbon isotope fractionation that occurs during marine haptophyte photosynthesis (εp37:2). In addition to the concentration of aqueous CO2 (CO2(aq)), the magnitude of εp37:2 is also influenced by algal growth rates and cell geometry. To date, the influence of haptophyte cell geometry on the expression of ancient εp37:2 values has received little attention.

This study evaluates changes in cell geometry of ancient alkenone-producing algae at Deep Sea Drilling Program Site 516 in the southwest Atlantic Ocean by analyzing individual coccolith dimensions, which are proportional to algal cell volume and surface area. We show that during part of the early Miocene, mean cell sizes of alkenone-producing algae were smaller relative to modern E. huxleyi. Cell size variations coincide with significant changes in εp37:2, with a distinct 6‰ decrease in εp37:2 at ~20.3 Ma associated with a 27% increase in haptophyte cell sizes. These changes in cell size impact εp37:2-based interpretations of growth rate variation and CO2(aq) estimates for this southwest Atlantic site. After correcting for cell geometry, CO2(aq) estimates at Site 516 are consistent with those reported from other oligotrophic sites during this time, resulting in overall low atmospheric pCO2 estimates (<350 ppmv) for the early Miocene.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 22, no 3, PA3202- p.
Keyword [en]
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-21248DOI: doi:10.1029/2006PA001399ISI: 000248289500001OAI: diva2:187774
Available from: 2007-12-06 Created: 2007-12-06 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved

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Henderiks, Jorijntje
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Department of Geology and Geochemistry

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