Stable Oxygen Isotopes and Mg/Ca in Planktic Foraminifera From Modern Surface Sediments of the Western Pacific Warm Pool: Implications for Thermocline Reconstructions Academic Article uri icon


  • Mg/Ca and stable oxygen isotope compositions (?18O) of planktic foraminifera tests are commonly used as proxies to reconstruct past ocean conditions including variations in the vertical water column structure. Accurate proxy calibrations require thorough regional studies, since parameters such as calcification depth and temperature of planktic foraminifera depend on local environmental conditions. Here we present radiocarbon-dated, modern surface sediment samples and water column data (temperature, salinity, and seawater ?18O) from the Western Pacific Warm Pool. Seawater ?18O (?18OSW) and salinity are used to calculate individual regressions for western Pacific surface and thermocline waters (?18OSW = 0.37?×?S-12.4 and ?18OSW = 0.33?×?S-11.0). We combine shell ?18O and Mg/Ca with water column data to estimate calcification depths of several planktic foraminifera and establish regional Mg/Ca-temperature calibrations. Globigerinoides ruber, Globigerinoides elongatus, and Globigerinoides sacculifer reflect mixed layer conditions. Pulleniatina obliquiloculata and Neogloboquadrina dutertrei and Globorotalia tumida preserve upper and lower thermocline conditions, respectively. Our multispecies Mg/Ca-temperature calibration (Mg/Ca = 0.26exp0.097*T) matches published regressions. Assuming the same temperature sensitivity in all species, we propose species-specific calibrations that can be used to reconstruct upper water column temperatures. The Mg/Ca temperature dependencies of G. ruber, G. elongatus, and G. tumida are similar to published equations. However, our data imply that calcification temperatures of G. sacculifer, P. obliquiloculata, and N. dutertrei are exceptionally warm in the western tropical Pacific and thus underestimated by previously published calibrations. Regional Mg/Ca-temperature relations are best described by Mg/Ca = 0.24exp0.097*T for G. sacculifer and by Mg/Ca = 0.21exp0.097*T for P. obliquiloculata and N. dutertrei.

publication date

  • November 2017