Posts Tagged 'paleo'

Hydrographic and ecologic implications of foraminiferal stable isotopic response across the U.S. mid-Atlantic continental shelf during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

We present new δ13C and δ18O records of surface (Morozovella and Acarinina) and thermocline dwelling (Subbotina) planktonic foraminifera and benthic foraminifera (Gavelinella, Cibicidoides, and Anomalinoides) during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) from Millville, New Jersey, and compare them with three other sites located along a paleoshelf transect from the U.S. mid-Atlantic coastal plain. Our analyses show different isotopic responses during the PETM in surface versus thermocline and benthic species. Whereas all taxa record a 3.6–4.0‰ δ13C decrease associated with the carbon isotope excursion, thermocline dwellers and benthic foraminifera show larger δ18O decreases compared to surface dwellers. We consider two scenarios that can explain the observed isotopic records: (1) a change in the water column structure and (2) a change in habitat or calcification season of the surface dwellers due to environmental stress (e.g., warming, ocean acidification, surface freshening, and/or eutrophication). In the first scenario, persistent warming during the PETM would have propagated heat into deeper layers and created a more homogenous water column with a thicker warm mixed layer and deeper, more gradual thermocline. We attribute the hydrographic change to decreased meridional thermal gradients, consistent with models that predict polar amplification. The second scenario assumes that environmental change was greater in the mixed layer forcing surface dwellers to descend into thermocline waters as a refuge or restrict their calcification to the colder seasons. Although both scenarios are plausible, similar δ13C responses recorded in surface, thermocline, and benthic foraminifera challenge mixed layer taxa migration.

Continue reading ‘Hydrographic and ecologic implications of foraminiferal stable isotopic response across the U.S. mid-Atlantic continental shelf during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum’

Core-top calibration of B/Ca in Pacific Ocean Neogloboquadrina incompta and Globigerina bulloides as a surface water carbonate system proxy

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.

Continue reading ‘Core-top calibration of B/Ca in Pacific Ocean Neogloboquadrina incompta and Globigerina bulloides as a surface water carbonate system proxy’

Extinction selectivity among marine fishes during multistressor global change in the end-Permian and end-Triassic crises

Ancient mass extinction events such as the end-Permian and end-Triassic crises provide analogues for multistressor global change of ocean warming, pH reduction, and deoxygenation. Organism physiology is hypothesized to be a key trait influencing vulnerability to these stressors, but it is not certain how physiology predicts survival over evolutionary time scales and when organisms are faced with opposing or synergistic stressors. Fishes (bony fishes and chondrichthyan fishes) are active organisms with high aerobic scope for thermal tolerance and well-developed acid-base regulation, traits that should confer resilience to global change. To test this, we compiled a database of fossil marine fish occurrences to quantify extinction rates during background and mass extinctions from the Permian through Early Jurassic, using maximum likelihood estimation to compare extinction trajectories with marine invertebrates. Our results show that fewer chondrichthyan fishes underwent extinction than marine invertebrates during the end-Permian crisis. End-Triassic chondrichthyan extinction rates also were not elevated above background levels. In contrast, bony fishes underwent an end-Triassic extinction comparable to that of marine invertebrates. The differing responses of these two groups imply that a more active physiology can be advantageous during global change, although not uniformly. Permian–Triassic chondrichthyan fishes may have had broader environmental tolerances, facilitating survival. Alternatively, the larger offspring size of chondrichthyan fishes may provide greater energy reserves to offset the demands of warming and acidification. Although more active organisms have adult adaptations for thermal tolerance and pH regulation, some may nevertheless be susceptible to global change during early life stages.

Continue reading ‘Extinction selectivity among marine fishes during multistressor global change in the end-Permian and end-Triassic crises’

Timing of global regression and microbial bloom linked with the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction: implications for driving mechanisms

New high-resolution U-Pb dates indicate a duration of 89 ± 38 kyr for the Permian hiatus and of 14 ± 57 kyr for the overlying Triassic microbial limestone in shallow water settings of the Nanpanjiang Basin, South China. The age and duration of the hiatus coincides with the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) and the extinction interval in the Meishan Global Stratotype Section and Point, and strongly supports a glacio-eustatic regression, which best explains the genesis of the worldwide hiatus straddling the PTB in shallow water records. In adjacent deep marine troughs, rates of sediment accumulation display a six-fold decrease across the PTB compatible with a dryer and cooler climate as indicated by terrestrial plants. Our model of the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction (PTBME) hinges on the synchronicity of the hiatus with the onset of the Siberian Traps volcanism. This early eruptive phase released sulfur-rich volatiles into the stratosphere, thus simultaneously eliciting a short-lived ice age responsible for the global regression and a brief but intense acidification. Abrupt cooling, shrunk habitats on shelves and acidification may all have synergistically triggered the PTBME. Subsequently, the build-up of volcanic CO2 induced a transient cool climate whose early phase saw the deposition of the microbial limestone.

Continue reading ‘Timing of global regression and microbial bloom linked with the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction: implications for driving mechanisms’

Contrasting microbial community changes during mass extinctions at the Middle/Late Permian and Permian/Triassic boundaries

Microbial communities are known to expand as a result of environmental deterioration during mass extinctions, but differences in microbial community changes between extinction events and their underlying causes have received little study to date. Here, we present a systematic investigation of microbial lipid biomarkers spanning ∼20 Myr (Middle Permian to Early Triassic) at Shangsi, South China, to contrast microbial changes associated with the Guadalupian–Lopingian boundary (GLB) and Permian–Triassic boundary (PTB) mass extinctions. High-resolution analysis of the PTB crisis interval reveals a distinct succession of microbial communities based on secular variation in moretanes, 2-methylhopanes, aryl isoprenoids, steranes, n-alkyl cyclohexanes, and other biomarkers. The first episode of the PTB mass extinction (ME1) was associated with increases in red algae and nitrogen-fixing bacteria along with evidence for enhanced wildfires and elevated soil erosion, whereas the second episode was associated with expansions of green sulfur bacteria, nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and acritarchs coinciding with climatic hyperwarming, ocean stratification, and seawater acidification. This pattern of microbial community change suggests that marine environmental deterioration was greater during the second extinction episode (ME2). The GLB shows more limited changes in microbial community composition and more limited environmental deterioration than the PTB, consistent with differences in species-level extinction rates (∼71% vs. 90%, respectively). Microbial biomarker records have the potential to refine our understanding of the nature of these crises and to provide insights concerning possible outcomes of present-day anthropogenic stresses on Earth’s ecosystems.

Continue reading ‘Contrasting microbial community changes during mass extinctions at the Middle/Late Permian and Permian/Triassic boundaries’

The geologic history of seawater pH

Although pH is a fundamental property of Earth’s oceans, critical to our understanding of seawater biogeochemistry, its long-timescale geologic history is poorly constrained. We constrain seawater pH through time by accounting for the cycles of the major components of seawater. We infer an increase from early Archean pH values between ~6.5 and 7.0 and Phanerozoic values between ~7.5 and 9.0, which was caused by a gradual decrease in atmospheric pCO2 in response to solar brightening, alongside a decrease in hydrothermal exchange between seawater and the ocean crust. A lower pH in Earth’s early oceans likely affected the kinetics of chemical reactions associated with the origin of life, the energetics of early metabolisms, and climate through the partitioning of CO2 between the oceans and atmosphere.

Continue reading ‘The geologic history of seawater pH’

The uronic acid content of coccolith-associated polysaccharides provides insight into coccolithogenesis and past climate

Unicellular phytoplanktonic algae (coccolithophores) are among the most prolific producers of calcium carbonate on the planet, with a production of ∼1026 coccoliths per year. During their lith formation, coccolithophores mainly employ coccolith-associated polysaccharides (CAPs) for the regulation of crystal nucleation and growth. These macromolecules interact with the intracellular calcifying compartment (coccolith vesicle) through the charged carboxyl groups of their uronic acid residues. Here we report the isolation of CAPs from modern day coccolithophores and their prehistoric predecessors and we demonstrate that their uronic acid content (UAC) offers a species-specific signature. We also show that there is a correlation between the UAC of CAPs and the internal saturation state of the coccolith vesicle that, for most geologically abundant species, is inextricably linked to carbon availability. These findings suggest that the UAC of CAPs reports on the adaptation of coccolithogenesis to environmental changes and can be used for the estimation of past CO2 concentrations.

Continue reading ‘The uronic acid content of coccolith-associated polysaccharides provides insight into coccolithogenesis and past climate’


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