Practical methods for reconstructing past ocean carbonate chemistry are needed to study past periods of ocean acidification and improve understanding of the marine carbonate system’s role in the global climate cycles. Planktic foraminiferal B/Ca may fill this role, but requires better understanding and improved proxy calibrations. We used Pacific Ocean core-top sediments to generate new calibrations of the B/Ca proxy for past carbonate system parameters in two upwelling/subpolar species of asymbiotic planktic foraminifera (Globigerina bulloides and Neogloboquadrina incompta ). Both species show significant positive correlation of B/Ca with calcite saturation (Ωcalcite) and carbonate ion concentration ([View the MathML source]) across a broad range of environmental conditions. This suggests a calcification rate control on B/Ca incorporation (as Ωcalcite regulates calcification rate), in agreement with recent inorganic calcite studies. This is also consistent with a surface entrapment model of trace element incorporation into CaCO3. In neither species is B/Ca significantly correlated with pH, suggesting that pH does not directly regulate boron incorporation, and that calculation of pH directly from foraminiferal B/Ca is not suitable. Correlations between B/Ca and [B(OH)4−], [B(OH)4−/HCO3−], and [B(OH)4−]/DIC) are weaker than with Ωcalcite. Boron partition coefficients View the MathML source show little or no correlation with [CO32−] or temperature and vary widely, providing no support for application of KD to calculate carbonate system parameters from B/Ca. We also discuss potential effects of depth-related dissolution, temperature, and salinity on B/Ca. These empirical calibrations linking foraminiferal calcite B/Ca with Ωcalcite provide a strong tool for reconstructing the past ocean carbonate system and improve our understanding of the proxy’s geochemical basis.
Quintana Krupinski N. B., Russell A. D., Pak D. K. & Paytan A., 2017. Core-top calibration of B/Ca in Pacific Ocean Neogloboquadrina incompta and Globigerina bulloides as a surface water carbonate system proxy. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 466:139–151. Article (subscription required).