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Planktonic foraminifera stable isotopes and water column structure: Disentangling ecological signals
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geological Sciences.
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2013 (English)In: Marine Micropaleontology, ISSN 0377-8398, E-ISSN 1872-6186, Vol. 101, 127-145 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Differential carbon and oxygen stable isotope (delta C-13 and delta O-18) fractionation between planktonic foraminifera test calcite and sea water related to ecology and life stage confound the potential for reconstructing palaeo-water column temperature and carbon gradients. Multi-species analysis and strict selection of test sizes are useful methods for identifying these fractionation processes, also known as 'vital effects', in fossil taxa. However, there are a limited number of species with adequate size-controlled data sets, needed for ground truthing the approach in the modern. Here we report delta C-13 and delta O-18 measurements made on twelve species of modern planktonic foraminifera across a range of fourteen tightly constrained size windows from a tropical Indian Ocean core top sample. This data set includes more test size windows per species, especially from the smallest (identifiable) test size-classes, and a wider range of species than previously attempted. We use the size controlled delta O-18 calcite trajectories to infer depth habitats and calculate species-specific calcification temperatures. The temperatures are then used to constrain species-specific calcification depths along the modern vertical temperature profile in the western tropical Indian Ocean. By overlaying the per species delta C-13 calcite trajectories on local water column delta C-13(DIC) profiles, we estimate if and when (i.e. at which test sizes) the planktonic foraminifera species investigated approach ambient delta C-13(DIC) values. The profiling shows significant size-controlled delta C-13 deviation from seawater values in all species at some life/growth stage, which we attribute to (i) metabolic fractionation in tests <150-300 mu m (juveniles of all species and small adults), and; (ii) photosymbiont fractionation, affecting large tests (>similar to 300 mu m) of mixed layer photosymbiotic taxa. For most species there is a size-window where these effects appear to be at a minimum, and/or in balance. Exceptions are Globigerinita glutinata, a small (<200 mu m) surface living species, Globigerina bulloides, which is highly opportunistic, and deep living Globorotalia tumida and Globorotaloides hexagonus, the latter two species being affected by various unexplained delta C-13 vital effects. Use of our refined guidelines for test-size selection should improve the potential for making realistic reconstructions of water column delta C-13(DIC) in a modern tropical stratified setting and potentially in the distant geological past when there are no living analogues present.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 101, 127-145 p.
Keyword [en]
Planktonic foraminifera, Test size, Stable isotopes, Ecology, Photosymbiosis, Metabolic fractionation, Water column, Thermal structure, Carbon gradient, Western tropical Indian Ocean
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-92816DOI: 10.1016/j.marmicro.2013.02.002ISI: 000321536700011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-92816DiVA: diva2:642518
Note

AuthorCount:5;

Available from: 2013-08-22 Created: 2013-08-20 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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