Posts Tagged 'foraminifera'

Differential sensitivity of a symbiont‐bearing foraminifer to seawater carbonate chemistry in a decoupled DIC‐pH experiment

Larger benthic foraminifera (LBF) are unicellular eukaryotic calcifying organisms and an important component of tropical and subtropical modern and ancient oceanic ecosystems. They are major calcium carbonate producers and important contributors to primary production due to the photosynthetic activity of their symbiotic algae. Studies investigating the response of LBF to seawater carbonate chemistry changes are therefore essential for understanding the impact of climate changes and ocean acidification (OA) on shallow marine ecosystems. In this study, calcification, respiration, and photosynthesis of the widespread diatom‐bearing LBF Operculina ammonoides were measured in laboratory experiments that included manipulation of carbonate chemistry parameters. pH was altered while keeping dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) constant, and DIC was altered while keeping pH constant. The results show clear vulnerability of O. ammonoides to low pH and CO32− under constant DIC conditions, and no increased photosynthesis or calcification under high DIC concentrations. Our results call into question previous hypotheses, suggesting that mechanisms such as the degree of cellular control on calcification site pH/DIC and/or enhanced symbiont photosynthesis in response to OA may render the hyaline (perforate and calcitic‐radial) LBF to be less responsive to OA than porcelaneous LBF. In addition, manipulating DIC did not affect calcification when pH was close to present seawater levels in a model encompassing the total population size range. In contrast, larger individuals (>1,200 μm, >1 mg) were sensitive to changes in DIC, a phenomenon we attribute to their physiological requirement to concentrate large quantities of DIC for their calcification process.

Continue reading ‘Differential sensitivity of a symbiont‐bearing foraminifer to seawater carbonate chemistry in a decoupled DIC‐pH experiment’

Element/Calcium ratios in middle Eocene samples of Oridorsalis umbonatus from Ocean Drilling Program Site 1209

Culturing studies and empirical-based calibrations suggest that elemental ratios in benthic foraminifera can be used as proxies to reconstruct past variations in bottom water temperature and saturation state (Δ[CO32−]). However the mechanism(s) linking elemental ratios to Δ[CO32−] are poorly constrained. We present middle Eocene records of Oridorsalis umbonatus Li/Ca, B/Ca, Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca from Ocean Drilling Program Site 1209. We apply calibrations developed from core top samples to estimate middle Eocene variations in intermediate water Δ[CO32−]. The fidelity of bottom water Δ[CO32−] reconstructions based on single element ratios are assessed by comparing the X/Ca-based reconstructions to each other and to carbon cycle proxy records (benthic foraminifera δ13C, organic carbon content, foraminifera dissolution indices), and a seawater δ18O reconstruction for Site 1209. Discrepancies in the reconstructed Δ[CO32−] values for the middle Eocene based on these different metal ratios suggests that there are still gaps in our understanding of the parameters influencing X/Ca. The downcore record of O. umbonatus Mg/Ca does not exhibit any similarities with the Li/Ca, B/Ca and Sr/Ca records, suggesting that bottom water Δ[CO32−] is not the dominant influence on Mg/Ca ratios for this species. This hypothesis is supported by the coefficients of multiple linear regression models on new and published Mg/Ca data.
Continue reading ‘Element/Calcium ratios in middle Eocene samples of Oridorsalis umbonatus from Ocean Drilling Program Site 1209’

Relationships between bottom water carbonate saturation and element/Ca ratios in coretop samples of the benthic foraminifera Oridorsalis umbonatus

Elemental ratios in benthic foraminifera have been used to reconstruct bottom water temperature and carbonate saturation (Δ[CO32−]). We present elemental data for the long-ranging benthic foraminifera Oridorsalis umbonatus from sediment core tops that span a narrow range of temperatures and a wide range of saturation states. B/Ca, Li/Ca, Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca ratios exhibit positive correlations with bottom water carbonate saturation. The sensitivity of individual element/calcium ratios to bottom water Δ [CO32−] varies considerably, with B/Ca being most sensitive and Sr/Ca the least sensitive. The empirically derived sensitivity of B/Ca, Li/Ca, Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca to bottom water Δ [CO32−] are 0.433 ± 0.053 and 0.0561 ± 0.0084 μmol mol−1 per μmol kg−1 and 0.0164 ± 0.0015 and 0.00241 ± 0.0004 μmol mol−1 per μmol kg−1, respectively. To assess the fidelity of these relationships and the possibility of applying these relationships to earlier periods of Earth history, we examine the mechanisms governing elemental incorporation into foraminiferal calcite. Empirical partition coefficients for Li and Sr are consistent with Rayleigh fractionation from an internal pool used for calcification. For O. umbonatus and other benthic species, we show that the fraction of Ca remaining in the pool is a function of bottom water Δ [CO32−], and can be explained by either a growth rate effect and/or the energetic cost of raising vesicle pH at the site of calcification. Empirical partition coefficients for Mg and B may also be controlled by Rayleigh fractionation, but require that either the fractionation factor from the internal pool is smaller than the inorganic partition coefficient and/or additional fractionation mechanisms. O. umbonatus element ratio data may also be consistent with fractionation according to the surface entrapment model and/or the presence of discrete high- and low-Mg calcite phases. However at present we are limited in our ability to assess these mechanisms. The new X/Ca data for O. umbonatus provide constraints to test the role of these mechanisms in the future.

Continue reading ‘Relationships between bottom water carbonate saturation and element/Ca ratios in coretop samples of the benthic foraminifera Oridorsalis umbonatus’

Incorporation of Mg and Sr in calcite of cultured benthic foraminifera: impact of calcium concentration and associated calcite saturation state

We investigated the effect of the calcium concentration in seawater and thereby the calcite saturation state (Ω) on the magnesium and strontium incorporation into benthic foraminiferal calcite under
laboratory conditions. For this purpose individuals of the shallow-water species Heterostegina depressa (precipitating high-Mg calcite, symbiont-bearing) and Ammonia tepida (low-Mg calcite, symbiont-barren) were cultured in media under a range of [Ca2+], but similar Mg/Ca ratios. Trace element/Ca ratios of newly formed calcite were analysed with Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry
(LA-ICP-MS) and normalized to the seawater elemental composition using the equation DTE=(TE/Cacalcite)/(TE/Caseawater). The culturing study shows that DMg of A. tepida significantly decreases with increasing Ω at a gradient of −4.3×10−5 per Ω unit. The DSr value of A. tepida does not change with Ω, suggesting that fossil Sr/Ca in this species may be a potential tool to reconstruct past variations in seawater Sr/Ca. Conversely, DMg of H. depressa shows only a minor decrease with increasing Ω, while DSr increases considerably with Ω at a gradient of 0.009 per Ω unit. The different responses to seawater chemistry of the two species may be explained by a difference in the calcification pathway that is, at the same time, responsible for the variation in the total Mg incorporation between the two species. Since the Mg/Ca ratio in H. depressa is 50–100 times higher than that of A. tepida, it is suggested that the latter exhibits a mechanism that decreases the Mg/Ca ratio of the calcification fluid, while the high-Mg calcite forming species may not have this physiological tool. If the dependency of Mg incorporation on seawater [Ca2+] is also valid for deep-sea benthic foraminifera typically used for paleostudies, the higher Ca concentrations in the past may potentially bias temperature reconstructions to a considerable degree. For instance, 25 Myr ago Mg/Ca ratios in A. tepida would have been 0.2 mmol/mol lower than today, due to the 1.5 times higher [Ca2+] of seawater, which in turn would lead to a temperature underestimation of more than 2 °C.

Continue reading ‘Incorporation of Mg and Sr in calcite of cultured benthic foraminifera: impact of calcium concentration and associated calcite saturation state’


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