Evaluation of oxygen isotopes and trace elements in planktonic foraminifera from the Mediterranean Sea as recorders of seawater oxygen isotopes and salinity

Dämmer, Linda K.; de Nooijer, Lennart; van Sebille, Erik; Haak, Jan G.; Reichart, Gert-Jan

The Mediterranean Sea is characterized by a relatively strong west to east salinity gradient, which makes it an area suitable for testing the effect of salinity on foraminiferal shell geochemistry. We collected living specimens of the planktonic foraminifer Globigerinoides ruber albus to analyse the relation between element inline-formula∕ Ca ratios, stable oxygen isotopes of their shells, and surface seawater salinity, isotopic composition and temperature. The oxygen isotopes of sea surface water also correlate with salinity in the Mediterranean during winter, which is when sampling for this study took place. Seawater oxygen and hydrogen isotopes are positively correlated in both the eastern and western Mediterranean Sea, although the relationship differs from previously reported values, especially in the eastern region. The slope between salinity and seawater oxygen isotopes is lower than previously published results. Still, despite the rather modest slope, seawater and foraminiferal carbonate oxygen isotopes are correlated in our dataset, albeit with large residuals and high residual variability. This scatter could be due to either biological variability in vital effects or environmental variability. Numerical models backtracking particles show that ocean-current-driven mixing of particles of different origins might dampen sensitivity and could result in an offset caused by horizontal transport. Results show that Na inline-formula∕ Ca is positively correlated with salinity and independent of temperature. As expected, foraminiferal Mg inline-formula∕ Ca increases with temperature, which is in line with earlier calibrations, and in the high salinity environment. By using living foraminifera during winter, the previously established Mg inline-formula∕ Ca–temperature calibration is extended to temperatures below 18 inline-formulaC, which is a fundamental prerequisite of using single foraminifera for reconstructing past seasonality.

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Dämmer, Linda K. / de Nooijer, Lennart / van Sebille, Erik / et al: Evaluation of oxygen isotopes and trace elements in planktonic foraminifera from the Mediterranean Sea as recorders of seawater oxygen isotopes and salinity. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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