Increased ocean acidification by upwelling intensification in southern Tethyan margin during the PETM: implication for foraminiferal record

The upper Thanetian–lowermost Ypresian succession in Tunisia is part of an extensive high-productivity upwelling regime in the southern Tethyan margin. As in several modern coastal upwelling systems, the upwelling strengthening regionally accentuated sustained acidification conditions, which prevailed in the Roman Bridge area (Central Tunisia). The poor-carbonate sedimentation, associated with the bad preservation state of calcifiers, points to the expansion of carbonate undersaturation in the water column and deep-sea sediments. The upwelling of deep CO32− and dissolved oxygen-depleted water significantly put calcifiers under chemically stressed habitats. Foraminiferal dwarfism, decrease in abundance and diversity, and especially occurrence of abundant dissolved and fragmented shells could account for the severe carbonate-corrosive waters. The spoiled primary morphological characteristics of benthic foraminifera emphasize the alkalinity increase in the deep marine waters. The well-preserved organic matter in the Roman Bridge sediments suggested a relatively minor role of remineralization in CaCO3-unsaturated waters. The expansion of carbonate-depleted water in the Roman Bridge area was principally driven by upwelled deep depleted-carbonate waters. These findings highlight the challenge to predict the response of the marine ecosystem to rising ocean acidification in upwelling strengthening regions in the future.

Kotti N., Mardassi B., Arenillas I. & Ouali J. A., 2022.  Increased ocean acidification by upwelling intensification in southern Tethyan margin during the PETM: implication for foraminiferal record. Carbonates Evaporites 3739. doi: 10.1007/s13146-022-00777-2. Article (subscription required).


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