Seawater carbonate chemistry and carbon and oxygen isotopes during experiments with planktonic foraminifera Orbulina universa and Globigerina bulloides, 1997, supplement to: Spero, Howard J; Bijma, Jelle; Lea, David W; Bemis, E B (1997): Effect of seawater carbonate concentration on foraminiferal carbon and oxygen isotopes. Nature, 390(6659), 497-500


Stable oxygen and carbon isotope measurements on biogenic calcite and aragonite have become standard tools for reconstructing past oceanographic and climatic change. In aquatic organisms, 18O/16O ratios in the shell carbonate are a function of the ratio in the sea water and the calcification temperature (Epstein et al., 1953). In contrast, 13C/12C ratios are controlled by the ratio of dissolved inorganic carbon in sea water and physiological processes such as respiration and symbiont photosynthesis (Spero et al., 1991, doi:10.1029/91PA02022). These geochemical proxies have been used with analyses of foraminifera shells to reconstruct global ice volumes (Shackleton and Opdyke, 1973, doi:10.1016/0033-5894(73)90052-5), surface and deep ocean temperatures (Broecker, 1986, doi:10.1016/0033-5894(86)90087-6; Labeyrie et al., 1987, doi:10.1038/327477a0), ocean circulation changes (Duplessy et al., 1988, doi:10.1029/PA003i003p00343) and glacial-interglacial exchange between the terrestrial and oceanic carbon pools (Sackleton, 1977). Here, we report experimental measurements on living symbiotic and non-symbiotic plankton foraminifera (Orbulina universa and Globigerina bulloides respectively) showing that the 13C/12C and 18O/16O ratios of the calcite shells decrease with increasing seawater [CO3 2-]. Because glacial-period oceans had higher pH and [CO3 2-] than today (Sanyal et al., 1995, doi:10.1038/373234a0), these new relationships confound the standard interpretation of glacial foraminiferal stable-isotope data. In particular, the hypothesis that the glacial-interglacial shift in the 13C/12C ratio was due to a transfer of terrestrial carbon into the ocean(Shackleton ,1977) can be explained alternatively by an increase in ocean alkalinity (Lea et al., 1996). A carbonate-concentration effect could also help explain some of the extreme stable-isotope variations during the Proterozoic and Phanerozoic aeons (Kaufman et al., 1993, doi:10.1016/0012-821X(93)90254-7).

Metadata Access
Creator Lea, David W;Bijma, Jelle;Bemis, E B;Spero, Howard J
Publisher PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
Publication Year 1997
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC-BY)
Language English
Resource Type Supplementary Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Discipline Earth System Research