Light and temperature effect on δ11B and B/Ca ratios of the zooxanthellate coral Acropora sp.: results from culturing experiments

The boron isotopic composition (δ11B) of marine carbonates (e.g. corals) has been established as a reliable proxy for paleo-pH, with the strong correlation between δ11B of marine calcifiers and seawater pH being now well documented. However, further investigations are needed in order to better quantify other environmental parameters potentially impacting boron isotopic composition and boron concentration into coral aragonite. To achieve this goal the tropical scleractinian coral Acropora sp. was cultured under 3 different temperature (22, 25 and 28 °C) and two light conditions (200 and 400 μmol photon m−2 s−1). The δ11B indicates an internal increase in pH from ambient seawater under both light conditions. Changes in light intensities from 200 to 400 μmol photon m−2 s−1 could bias pH reconstructions by about 0.05 units. For both light conditions, a significant impact of temperature on δ11B can be observed between 22 and 25 °C corresponding to enhancements of about 0.02 pH-units, while no further δ11B increase can be observed between 25 and 28 °C. This non-linear temperature effect complicates the determination of a correcting factor. B/Ca ratios decrease with increasing light, confirming the decrease in pH at the site of calcification under enhanced light intensities. When all the other parameters are maintained constant, boron concentrations in Acropora sp. increase with increasing temperature and increasing carbonate ions concentrations. These observations contradict previous studies where B/Ca in corals was found to vary inversely with temperature suggesting that the controlling factors driving boron concentrations have not yet been adequately identified and might be influenced by other seawater variables and species specific responses.
Dissard, D., Douville, E., Reynaud, S., Juillet-Leclerc, A., Montagna, P., Louvat, P., and McCulloch, M.: Light and temperature effect on δ11B and B/Ca ratios of the zooxanthellate coral Acropora sp.: results from culturing experiments, Biogeosciences Discussions 9:5969-6014. Article.

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