Biotic and geochemical (δ18O, δ13C, Mg/Ca, Ba/Ca) responses of Globigerinoides ruber morphotypes to upper water column variations during the last deglaciation, Gulf of Mexico

A. Antonarakou, G. Kontakiotis, P. G. Mortyn, H. Drinia, M. Sprovieri, E. Besiou, E. Tripsanas

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    33 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Within the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), the Bryant Canyon is exceptional in that rapid sedimentation sustained by high rates of terrigenous sediment delivery and surface marine productivity make this basin an excellent recorder of paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic conditions. We present a new 21-kyr record of sea surface temperature (SST) and local salinity changes from the NW GOM (core JPC-26) approximated from combined Globigerinoides ruber morphotype-specific δ18O and Mg/Ca, as well as Ba/Ca, which reflect the subtropical GOM hydrographic dynamics and their relationship to both Mississippi River discharges and climate evolution during the last deglaciation. Overall, the reconstructed SST and SSS-related patterns reveal notable variations in amplitude between the analyzed morphotypes, adding valuable insights to previously published G. ruber (w, mixed) GOM records. Especially during the deglaciation, Bryant Canyon meltwater flooding events (BCDFs) and associated sea surface freshening seem to be more pronounced than the SST reduction. Our Mg/Ca-derived SST records of both morphotypes (G. ruber sensu stricto (s.s.) and G. ruber sensu lato (s.l.)) show comparable general trends, but with important SST differences (δT). We interpret down-core δT as a record of changing upper water column hydrography, with particular influence from the deglacial meltwater (BCDFs) or Holocene (BCHFs) flooding events. During the warm intervals, the deeper, thicker and probably more seasonally persistent mixed layer led to more uniform thermal conditions for both G. ruber morphotypes and therefore to a minimum δT. On the contrary, during the cold and low salinity periods, the shallower mixed layer favored more habitat divergence, and caused a maximum thermal gradient in the well-stratified upper water column. Overall, this supports the notion that G. ruber s.s. is consistently calcifying in warmer waters than G. ruber s.l., either due to a shallower depth habitat or to a more summer-weighted seasonal distribution. Moreover, intra-specific paired δ13C and Ba/Ca differences show that G. ruber s.l. is more sensitive to river water influence than G. ruber s.s., due to its ability to change its depth habitat and therefore exploit optimal (temperature, salinity, productivity, stratification) conditions during the low-salinity events. Overall, our observations support the current practice of treating the two G. ruber morphotypes separately and further illustrate the necessity to map both their spatial and temporal distribution.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)69-93
    JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


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