A new method for calibrating a boron isotope paleo-pH proxy using massive Porites corals

The boron isotope ratio (δ11B) of marine biogenic carbonates can reconstruct pH and pCO2 of seawater, and potentially CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. To date, δ11B-pHSW calibration has been proposed via culturing experiments, where calcifying organisms are cultured under artificially acidified seawater. However, in scleractinian corals, reconstructed pH values using culture-based calibrations do not agree well with actual observations of seawater CO2 chemistry. Thus, another approach is needed to establish a more reliable calibration method. In this study, we established field-based calibrations for Chichijima and Tahiti, both located in subtropical gyres where surface seawater is close to CO2 equilibrium. We suggest a new approach to calibration of δ11B-pH in which the long-term δ11B variation of massive Porites corals is compared with the decreasing pH trend (i.e., ocean acidification) that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution. This calibration will offer a new avenue for studying seawater CO2 chemistry using coral δ11B in diverse settings, such as upwelling regions, coral reefs, and coastal areas. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Kubota K., Yokoyama Y., Ishikawa T. & Suzuki A., in press. A new method for calibrating a boron isotope paleo-pH proxy using massive Porites corals. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. Article (subscription required).


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