Journal cover Journal topic
Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic
Volume 15, issue 14
Biogeosciences, 15, 4405-4429, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 15, 4405-4429, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 19 Jul 2018

Research article | 19 Jul 2018

Modeling seasonal and vertical habitats of planktonic foraminifera on a global scale

Kerstin Kretschmer, Lukas Jonkers, Michal Kucera, and Michael Schulz Kerstin Kretschmer et al.
  • MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences and Faculty of Geosciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany

Abstract. Species of planktonic foraminifera exhibit specific seasonal production patterns and different preferred vertical habitats. The seasonal and vertical habitats are not constant throughout the range of the species and changes therein must be considered when interpreting paleoceanographic reconstructions based on fossil foraminifera. However, detecting the effect of changing vertical and seasonal habitat on foraminifera proxies requires independent evidence for either habitat or climate change. In practice, this renders accounting for habitat tracking from fossil evidence almost impossible. An alternative method that could reduce the bias in paleoceanographic reconstructions is to predict species-specific habitat shifts under climate change using an ecosystem modeling approach. To this end, we present a new version of a planktonic foraminifera model, PLAFOM2.0, embedded into the ocean component of the Community Earth System Model version 1.2.2. This model predicts monthly global concentrations of the planktonic foraminiferal species Neogloboquadrina pachyderma, N. incompta, Globigerina bulloides, Globigerinoides ruber (white), and Trilobatus sacculifer throughout the world ocean, resolved in 24 vertical layers to 250m of depth. The resolution along the vertical dimension has been implemented by applying the previously used spatial parameterization of carbon biomass as a function of temperature, light, nutrition, and competition on depth-resolved parameter fields. This approach alone results in the emergence of species-specific vertical habitats, which are spatially and temporally variable. Although an explicit parameterization of the vertical dimension has not been carried out, the seasonal and vertical distribution patterns predicted by the model are in good agreement with sediment trap data and plankton tow observations. In the simulation, the colder-water species N. pachyderma, N. incompta, and G. bulloides show a pronounced seasonal cycle in their depth habitat in the polar and subpolar regions, which appears to be controlled by food availability. During the warm season, these species preferably occur in the subsurface (below 50m of water depth), while towards the cold season they ascend through the water column and are found closer to the sea surface. The warm-water species G. ruber (white) and T. sacculifer exhibit a less variable shallow depth habitat with highest carbon biomass concentrations within the top 40m of the water column. Nevertheless, even these species show vertical habitat variability and their seasonal occurrence outside the tropics is limited to the warm surface layer that develops at the end of the warm season. The emergence in PLAFOM2.0 of species-specific vertical habitats, which are consistent with observations, indicates that the population dynamics of planktonic foraminifera species may be driven by the same factors in time, space, and with depth, in which case the model can provide a reliable and robust tool to aid the interpretation of proxy records.

Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The fossil shells of planktonic foraminifera are widely used to reconstruct past climate conditions. To do so, information about their seasonal and vertical habitat is needed. Here we present an updated version of a planktonic foraminifera model to better understand species-specific habitat dynamics under climate change. This model produces spatially and temporally coherent distribution patterns, which agree well with available observations, and can thus aid the interpretation of proxy records.
The fossil shells of planktonic foraminifera are widely used to reconstruct past climate...