Southern California margin benthic foraminiferal assemblages record recent centennial-scale changes in oxygen minimum zone

Palmer, Hannah M.; Hill, Tessa M.; Roopnarine, Peter D.; Myhre, Sarah E.; Reyes, Katherine R.; Donnenfield, Jonas T.

Microfossil assemblages provide valuable records to investigate variability in continental margin biogeochemical cycles, including dynamics of the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ). Analyses of modern assemblages across environmental gradients are necessary to understand relationships between assemblage characteristics and environmental factors. Five cores were analyzed from the San Diego margin (32inline-formula42inline-formula00inline-formula′′ N, 117inline-formula30inline-formula00inline-formula′′ W; 300–1175 m water depth) for core top benthic foraminiferal assemblages to understand relationships between community assemblages and spatial hydrographic gradients as well as for down-core benthic foraminiferal assemblages to identify changes in the OMZ through time. Comparisons of benthic foraminiferal assemblages from two size fractions (63–150 and inline-formula>150inline-formulaµm) exhibit similar trends across the spatial and environmental gradient or in some cases exhibit more pronounced spatial trends in the inline-formula>150inline-formulaµm fraction. A range of species diversity exists within the modern OMZ (1.910–2.586 inline-formulaH, Shannon index), suggesting that diversity is not driven by oxygenation alone. We identify two hypoxic-associated species (B. spissa and U. peregrina), one oxic-associated species (G. subglobosa) and one OMZ edge-associated species (B. argentea). Down-core analysis of indicator species reveals variability in the upper margin of the OMZ (528 m water depth) while the core of the OMZ (800 m) and below the OMZ (1175 m) remained stable in the last 1.5 kyr. We document expansion of the upper margin of the OMZ beginning 400 BP on the San Diego margin that is synchronous with other regional records of oxygenation.

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Palmer, Hannah M. / Hill, Tessa M. / Roopnarine, Peter D. / et al: Southern California margin benthic foraminiferal assemblages record recent centennial-scale changes in oxygen minimum zone. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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