The origin of carbon isotope vital effects in coccolith calcite

McClelland, HLO; Bruggeman, J; Hermoso, M; Rickaby, REM. 2017 The origin of carbon isotope vital effects in coccolith calcite. Nature Communications, 8. 14511. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14511

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14511

Abstract/Summary

Calcite microfossils are widely used to study climate and oceanography in Earth’s geological past. Coccoliths, readily preserved calcite plates produced by a group of single-celled surface-ocean dwelling algae called coccolithophores, have formed a significant fraction of marine sediments since the Late Triassic. However, unlike the shells of foraminifera, their zooplankton counterparts, coccoliths remain underused in palaeo-reconstructions. Precipitated in an intracellular chemical and isotopic microenvironment, coccolith calcite exhibits large and enigmatic departures from the isotopic composition of abiogenic calcite, known as vital effects. Here we show that the calcification to carbon fixation ratio determines whether coccolith calcite is isotopically heavier or lighter than abiogenic calcite, and that the size of the deviation is determined by the degree of carbon utilization. We discuss the theoretical potential for, and current limitations of, coccolith-based CO2 paleobarometry, that may eventually facilitate use of the ubiquitous and geologically extensive sedimentary archive.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Subjects: Biology
Earth Sciences
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > Modelling
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Ecosystem Models and Predictions
Depositing User: Jorn Bruggeman
Date made live: 20 Nov 2017 10:41
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2017 10:41
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/7585

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