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Environmental and biological controls on size-specific ?13C and ?18O in recent planktonic foraminifera

Environmental and biological controls on size-specific ?13C and ?18O in recent planktonic foraminifera
Environmental and biological controls on size-specific ?13C and ?18O in recent planktonic foraminifera
As living organisms, planktonic foraminifera are not passive tracers of the environment. Their test geochemistry—arguably the single most important resource for paleoceanographic research—reflects the combined signal of environmental, biological, and preservational processes. For most species, comparisons of test stable isotopic composition within and among taxa provide the primary means for disentangling the relative influences of these different processes. Here we test the foundations of our paleoceanographic interpretations with the first quantitative comparison of the determinants of carbon and oxygen isotopic variation across multiple ocean basins, studies, and species by re-analyzing size-specific data collated from the literature. We find clear evidence of species-specific biological effects (i.e., vital effects), as the intercepts of size-specific carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions differ significantly among species. Trends in body size and isotopic composition, particularly in dinoflagellate bearing taxa, suggest that much of the size-dependent isotopic variation observed in death assemblages (i.e., core tops and sediments) relates to factors influencing the maximum size obtained by adults rather than ontogeny. The presence and type of photosymbiont hosted (dinoflagellate, chrysophyte, or none) were a major factor affecting species- and size-specific ?18O values. In contrast, size-related trends in ?13C values were driven by depth habitat (mixed layer, thermocline, subthermocline), symbiont ecology and whether the assemblage was alive or dead when sampled. On this broad geographic and oceanographic scale, ocean basin and biome had a significant effect on ?18O and ?13C values . Our analysis and its model-averaged predictions provide a quantitative basis for interpreting size-specific isotopic variation in 22 species of modern macroperforate planktonic foraminifera. We conclude by highlighting existing data gaps and outstanding questions of the relative influence of environmental, preservational, and biological processes on variation in the test geochemistry of planktonic foraminifera.
?13C, ?18O, ontogeny, planktonic foraminifera, size, symbiont
0883-8305
151-173
Ezard, Thomas H.G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374
Edgar, Kirsty M.
c180d215-e9ee-4a79-8274-a1e8a300c07c
Hull, Pincelli M.
56b9ec5b-7112-453b-92fd-b4b84cfcc326
Ezard, Thomas H.G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374
Edgar, Kirsty M.
c180d215-e9ee-4a79-8274-a1e8a300c07c
Hull, Pincelli M.
56b9ec5b-7112-453b-92fd-b4b84cfcc326

Ezard, Thomas H.G., Edgar, Kirsty M. and Hull, Pincelli M. (2015) Environmental and biological controls on size-specific ?13C and ?18O in recent planktonic foraminifera. Paleoceanography, 30 (3), 151-173. (doi:10.1002/2014PA002735).

Record type: Article

Abstract

As living organisms, planktonic foraminifera are not passive tracers of the environment. Their test geochemistry—arguably the single most important resource for paleoceanographic research—reflects the combined signal of environmental, biological, and preservational processes. For most species, comparisons of test stable isotopic composition within and among taxa provide the primary means for disentangling the relative influences of these different processes. Here we test the foundations of our paleoceanographic interpretations with the first quantitative comparison of the determinants of carbon and oxygen isotopic variation across multiple ocean basins, studies, and species by re-analyzing size-specific data collated from the literature. We find clear evidence of species-specific biological effects (i.e., vital effects), as the intercepts of size-specific carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions differ significantly among species. Trends in body size and isotopic composition, particularly in dinoflagellate bearing taxa, suggest that much of the size-dependent isotopic variation observed in death assemblages (i.e., core tops and sediments) relates to factors influencing the maximum size obtained by adults rather than ontogeny. The presence and type of photosymbiont hosted (dinoflagellate, chrysophyte, or none) were a major factor affecting species- and size-specific ?18O values. In contrast, size-related trends in ?13C values were driven by depth habitat (mixed layer, thermocline, subthermocline), symbiont ecology and whether the assemblage was alive or dead when sampled. On this broad geographic and oceanographic scale, ocean basin and biome had a significant effect on ?18O and ?13C values . Our analysis and its model-averaged predictions provide a quantitative basis for interpreting size-specific isotopic variation in 22 species of modern macroperforate planktonic foraminifera. We conclude by highlighting existing data gaps and outstanding questions of the relative influence of environmental, preservational, and biological processes on variation in the test geochemistry of planktonic foraminifera.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 7 March 2015
Published date: March 2015
Keywords: ?13C, ?18O, ontogeny, planktonic foraminifera, size, symbiont
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Centre for Biological Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 375317
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/375317
ISSN: 0883-8305
PURE UUID: 2d0eeb20-a661-474b-8b15-33ae5ec2ca10
ORCID for Thomas H.G. Ezard: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8305-6605

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Date deposited: 19 Mar 2015 13:06
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 02:08

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Contributors

Author: Thomas H.G. Ezard ORCID iD
Author: Kirsty M. Edgar
Author: Pincelli M. Hull

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