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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic
Volume 12, issue 18
Biogeosciences, 12, 5415–5428, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-5415-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Low oxygen environments in marine, fresh and estuarine...

Biogeosciences, 12, 5415–5428, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-5415-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 18 Sep 2015

Research article | 18 Sep 2015

A comparison of benthic foraminiferal Mn / Ca and sedimentary Mn / Al as proxies of relative bottom-water oxygenation in the low-latitude NE Atlantic upwelling system

C. L. McKay1, J. Groeneveld1,2, H. L. Filipsson1, D. Gallego-Torres3,4, M. J. Whitehouse5, T. Toyofuku6, and O.E. Romero2 C. L. McKay et al.
  • 1Department of Geology, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, 223 62 Lund, Sweden
  • 2MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Klagenfurter Strasse, 28359 Bremen, Germany
  • 3Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra, (CSIC-Universidad de Granada), Avenida de las Palmeras, Armilla, Granada, Spain
  • 4Departmento de Geologia, Universidad de Jaen, Campus Las Lagunillas, Jaen, Spain
  • 5Department of Geosciences, Swedish Museum of Natural History, 104-05 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 6Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Natsushima-cho 2-15, Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan

Abstract. Trace element incorporation into foraminiferal shells (tests) is governed by physical and chemical conditions of the surrounding marine environment, and therefore foraminiferal geochemistry provides a means of palaeo-oceanographic reconstructions. With the availability of high-spatial-resolution instrumentation with high precision, foraminiferal geochemistry has become a major research topic over recent years. However, reconstructions of past bottom-water oxygenation using foraminiferal tests remain in their infancy. In this study we explore the potential of using Mn / Ca determined by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) as well as by flow-through inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (FT-ICP-OES) in the benthic foraminiferal species Eubuliminella exilis as a proxy for recording changes in bottom-water oxygen conditions in the low-latitude NE Atlantic upwelling system. Furthermore, we compare the SIMS and FT-ICP-OES results with published Mn sediment bulk measurements from the same sediment core. This is the first time that benthic foraminiferal Mn / Ca is directly compared with Mn bulk measurements, which largely agree on the former oxygen conditions. Samples were selected to include different productivity regimes related to Marine Isotope Stage 3 (35–28 ka), the Last Glacial Maximum (28–19 ka), Heinrich Event 1 (18–15.5 ka), Bølling Allerød (15.5–13.5 ka) and the Younger Dryas (13.5–11.5 ka). Foraminiferal Mn / Ca determined by SIMS and FT-ICP-OES is comparable. Mn / Ca was higher during periods with high primary productivity, such as during the Younger Dryas, which indicates low-oxygen conditions. This is further supported by the benthic foraminiferal faunal composition. Our results highlight the proxy potential of Mn / Ca in benthic foraminifera from upwelling systems for reconstructing past variations in oxygen conditions of the sea floor environment as well as the need to use it in combination with other proxy records such as faunal assemblage data.

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We highlight the proxy potential of foraminiferal Mn/Ca determined by secondary ion mass spectrometry and flow-through inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy for recording changes in bottom-water oxygen conditions. Comparisons with Mn sediment bulk measurements from the same sediment core largely agree with the results. High foraminiferal Mn/Ca occurs in samples from times of high productivity export and corresponds with the benthic foraminiferal faunal composition.
We highlight the proxy potential of foraminiferal Mn/Ca determined by secondary ion mass...
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