Effects of light and temperature on Mg uptake, growth, and calcification in the proxy climate archive Clathromorphumcompactum

Williams, Siobhan; Adey, Walter; Halfar, Jochen; Kronz, Andreas; Gagnon, Patrick; Bélanger, David; Nash, Merinda

The shallow-marine benthic coralline alga Clathromorphum compactum is an important annual- to sub-annual-resolution archive of Arctic and subarctic environmental conditions, allowing reconstructions going back > 600 years. Both Mg content, in the high-Mg calcitic cell walls, and annual algal growth increments have been used as a proxy for past temperatures and sea ice conditions. The process of calcification in coralline algae has been debated widely, with no definitive conclusion about the role of light and photosynthesis in growth and calcification. Light received by algal specimens can vary with latitude, water depth, sea ice conditions, water turbidity, and shading. Furthermore, field calibration studies of Clathromorphum sp. have yielded geographically disparate correlations between inline-formulaMgCO3 and sea surface temperature. The influence of other environmental controls, such as light, on Mg uptake and calcification has received little attention. We present results from an 11-month mesocosm experiment in which 123 wild-collected C. compactum specimens were grown in conditions simulating their natural habitat. Specimens grown for periods of 1 and 2 months in complete darkness show that the typical complex of anatomy and cell wall calcification develops in new tissue without the presence of light, demonstrating that calcification is metabolically driven and not a side effect of photosynthesis. Also, we show that both light and temperature significantly affect inline-formulaMgCO3 in C. compactum cell walls. For specimens grown at low temperature (2 inline-formulaC), the effects of light are smaller, with a 1.4 mol % inline-formulaMgCO3 increase from low-light (mean inline-formula= 17 lx) to high-light conditions (mean inline-formula= 450 lx). At higher (10 inline-formulaC) temperature there was a 1.8 mol % inline-formulaMgCO3 increase from low to high light. It is therefore concluded that site- and possibly specimen-specific temperature calibrations must be applied, to account for effects of light when generating Clathromorphum-derived temperature calibrations.



Williams, Siobhan / Adey, Walter / Halfar, Jochen / et al: Effects of light and temperature on Mg uptake, growth, and calcification in the proxy climate archive Clathromorphum compactum. 2018. Copernicus Publications.


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