Coralline algae are global palaeothermometers with bi-weekly resolution


Kamenos NA, Cusack M & Moore PG (2008) Coralline algae are global palaeothermometers with bi-weekly resolution. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 72 (3), pp. 771-779.

High resolution palaeoclimate data are required for the Holocene to resolve differences recorded by current proxies. The pole to pole distribution of rhodoliths (coralline algae) with their annual and sub-annual calcite bands make these attractive candidates for such a role. These bands contain climate information in the form of elemental traces. In situ temperature (IST) was recorded at two rhodolith beds for 1.5 years. The concentrations of MgCO3 and SrCO3 (mol %) deposited in Lithothamion glaciale and Phymatolithon calcareum over this 18- month period were determined using electron and ion microprobes. Highly significant linear relationships exist between Mg, Sr and IST as well as sea surface temperature. Calibration between Mg concentration and IST was used to obtain a 2-year temperature profile from a subfossil rhodolith thallus indicating half the seasonal peak-to-peak temperature amplitude earlier during the Holocene than the present day. Both slow-growing species (<200 μm year-1) allowed sampling resolutions of 23 year-1 which is equivalent to 1 reading every 2 weeks. Sub-monthly Mg and Sr records in rhodoliths make them unique globally distributed palaeothermometers which may help refine regional climate histories during the Holocene. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: Volume 72, Issue 3

Publication date01/02/2008
Publication date online29/11/2007
Date accepted by journal20/11/2007