Exploring the oxygen and carbon isotopic composition of the Mediterranean red coral (Corallium rubrum) for seawater temperature reconstruction

S. Chaabane, M. López Correa, P. Montagna, N. Kallel, M. Taviani, C. Linares, P. Ziveri

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5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2016 Elsevier B.V. Here we provide first evidence that the stable oxygen and carbon isotopic composition (δ18O, δ13C) of the high-magnesium calcite skeleton red coral Corallium rubrum can be used as a reliable seawater temperature proxy. This is based upon the analyses of living colonies of C. rubrum from different depths and localities in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The assessment of the growth rates has been established through the analysis of growth band patterns. The δ18O and δ13C compositions show large variability with a significant difference between the branches and the bases of the colonies. In both coral portions, the δ18O and δ13C values are highly correlated and show well-defined linear trends. Following the “lines technique” approach developed by Smith et al. (2000) for scleractinian aragonitic deep-water corals, our data have been combined with published values for the deep-sea gorgonian corals Isididae and Coralliidae from Kimball et al. (2014) and Hill et al. (2011) resulting in the following δ18O temperature equation:T°C=−5.05±0.24×δ18Ointercept+14.26±0.43R2=0.962pvalue<0.0001 The error associated with this equation is ± 0.5 °C at the mean temperature of the data set, ± 0.7 °C for corals living in 2 °C water and ± 1 °C for coral living in warmer water (17 °C). The highly significant δ18Ointercept vs. temperature relationship combined with the “lines technique” method can be reliably applied to the calcitic skeleton to obtain calcification temperature estimates in the past, although this approach requires the knowledge of the past δ18O and δ13C composition of seawater and it is labor and time intensive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-23
JournalMarine Chemistry
Volume186
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2016

Keywords

  • Growth rings
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Red coral
  • Seawater temperature
  • δ C 13
  • δ O 18

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