Stable isotope composition of Late Cretaceous benthic foraminifera from the southern South Atlantic: Biological and environmental effects

Friedrich, O., Schmiedl, G. and Erlenkeuser, H. (2006) Stable isotope composition of Late Cretaceous benthic foraminifera from the southern South Atlantic: Biological and environmental effects. Marine Micropaleontology, 58, (2), 135-157. (doi:10.1016/j.marmicro.2005.10.005).


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The stable carbon and oxygen isotope composition of different benthic foraminiferal species of the latest Campanian and earliest Maastrichtian from Ocean Drilling Project Hole 690C (Weddell Sea, southern South Atlantic, 1800 m paleowater depth) have been investigated. The total range of measured isotope values of all samples exceeds 4‰ for δ13C and 1.1‰ for δ18O. Carbon isotope values of proposed deep infaunal species are generally similar or only slightly lower when compared to proposed epifaunal to shallow infaunal species. Interspecific differences vary between samples probably reflecting temporal changes in organic carbon fluxes to the sea floor. Constantly lower δ13C values for Pullenia marssoni and Pullenia reussi suggest the deepest habitat for these species. The strong depletion of δ13C values by up to 3‰ within lenticulinids may be attributed to a deep infaunal microhabitat, strong vital effects, or different feeding strategy when compared to other species or modern lenticulinids. The mean δ18O values reveal a strong separation of epifaunal to shallow infaunal and deep infaunal species. Epifaunal to shallow infaunal species are characterized by low δ18O values, deep infaunal species by higher values. This result possibly reflects lower metabolic rates and longer life cycles of deep infaunal species or the operating of a pore water [CO32−] effect on the benthic foraminiferal stable isotopes.

Pyramidina szajnochae shows an enrichment of oxygen isotopes with test size comprising a total of 0.6‰ between 250 and 1250 μm shell size. Although δ13C lacks a corresponding trend these data likely represent the presence of changes in metabolic rates during ontogenesis. These results demonstrate the general applicability of multi-species stable isotope measurements of pristine Cretaceous benthic foraminifera to reconstruct past microhabitats and to evaluate biological and environmental effects on the stable isotope composition.

Item Type: Article
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Keywords: benthic foraminifera; stable isotopes; Campanian; Maastrichtian; South Atlantic
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
ePrint ID: 49992
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2008
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:33

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