(Table 2) Radiocarbon dating on cold-water corals collected in the Mediterranean Sea, supplement to: Fink, Hiske G; Wienberg, Claudia; De Pol-Holz, Ricardo; Hebbeln, Dierk (2015): Spatio-temporal distribution patterns of Mediterranean cold-water corals (Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata) during the past 14,000 years. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 103, 37-48


This study presents newly obtained coral ages of the cold-water corals Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata collected in the Alboran Sea and the Strait of Sicily (Urania Bank). These data were combined with all available Mediterranean Lophelia and Madrepora ages compiled from literature to conduct a basin-wide assessment of the spatial and temporal occurrence of these prominent framework-forming scleractinian species in the Mediterranean realm and to unravel the palaeo-environmental conditions that controlled their proliferation or decline. For the first time special focus was placed on a closer examination of potential differences occurring between the eastern and western Mediterranean sub-basins. Our results clearly demonstrate that cold-water corals occurred sparsely in the entire Mediterranean during the last glacial before becoming abundant during the Bølling-Allerød warm interval, pointing to a basin-wide, almost concurrent onset in (re-)colonisation after ~13.5 ka. This time coincides with a peak in meltwater discharge originating from the northern Mediterranean borderlands which caused a major reorganisation of the Mediterranean thermohaline circulation. During the Younger Dryas and Holocene, some striking differences in coral proliferation were identified between the sub-basins such as periods of highly prolific coral growth in the eastern Mediterranean Sea during the Younger Dryas and in the western basin during the Early Holocene, whereas a temporary pronounced coral decline during the Younger Dryas was exclusively affecting coral sites in the Alboran Sea. Comparison with environmental and oceanographic data revealed that the proliferation of the Mediterranean corals is linked with enhanced productivity conditions. Moreover, corals thrived in intermediate depths and showed a close relationship with intermediate water mass circulation in the Mediterranean sub-basins. For instance, reduced Levantine Intermediate Water formation hampered coral growth in the eastern Mediterranean Sea during sapropel S1 event as reduced Winter Intermediate Water formation did in the westernmost part of the Mediterranean (Alboran Sea) during the Mid-Holocene. Overall, this study clearly demonstrates the importance to consider region-specific environmental changes as well as species-specific environmental preferences in interpreting coral chronologies. Moreover, it highlights that the occurrence or decline of cold-water corals is not controlled by one key parameter but rather by a complex interplay of various environmental variables.

DOI https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.848438
Related Identifier https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2015.05.006
Metadata Access https://ws.pangaea.de/oai/provider?verb=GetRecord&metadataPrefix=datacite4&identifier=oai:pangaea.de:doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.848438
Creator Fink, Hiske G; Wienberg, Claudia; De Pol-Holz, Ricardo; Hebbeln, Dierk
Publisher PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
Publication Year 2015
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Supplementary Dataset
Format text/tab-separated-values
Size 210 data points
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (-3.554W, 36.025S, 13.156E, 36.839N); El Idrissi Bank; Alboran Ridge; Urania Bank
Temporal Coverage Begin 2006-10-01T21:44:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 2009-06-12T16:00:00Z