Foraminiferal Mn/Ca as Bottom-Water Hypoxia Proxy: An Assessment of Nonionella stella in the Santa Barbara Basin, USA

I. Brinkmann, S. Ni, M. Schweizer, V. E. Oldham, N. B. Quintana Krupinski, K. Medjoubi, A. Somogyi, M. J. Whitehouse, C. M. Hansel, C. Barras, J. M. Bernhard, H. L. Filipsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hypoxia is of increasing concern in marine areas, calling for a better understanding of mechanisms leading to decreasing dissolved oxygen concentrations ([O2]). Much can be learned about the processes and implications of deoxygenation for marine ecosystems using proxy records from low-oxygen sites, provided proxies, such as the manganese (Mn) to calcium (Ca) ratio in benthic foraminiferal calcite, are available and well calibrated. Here we report a modern geochemical data set from three hypoxic sites within the Santa Barbara Basin (SBB), USA, where we study the response of Mn/Caforam in the benthic foraminifer Nonionella stella to variations in sedimentary redox conditions (Mn, Fe) and bottom-water dissolved [O2]. We combine molecular species identification by small subunit rDNA sequencing with morphological characterization and assign the SBB N. stella used here to a new phylotype (T6). Synchrotron-based scanning X-ray fluorescence (XRF) imaging and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) show low Mn incorporation (partition coefficient DMn < 0.05) and limited proxy sensitivity of N. stella, at least within the range of dissolved [O2] (2.7–9.6 μmol/l) and Mnpore-water gradients (2.12–21.59 μmol/l). Notably, even though intra- and interspecimen Mn/Ca variability (33% and 58%, respectively) was only partially controlled by the environment, Mn/Caforam significantly correlated with both pore-water Mn and bottom-water [O2]. However, the prevalent suboxic bottom-water conditions and limited dissolved [O2] range complicate the interpretation of trace-elemental trends. Additional work involving other oxygenation proxies and samples from a wider oxygen gradient should be pursued to further develop foraminiferal Mn/Ca as an indicator for hypoxic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020PA004167
JournalPaleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge funding from the Swedish Research Council VR (grant numbers 2017‐04190 and 2017‐00671), the Crafoord Foundation, and the Royal Physiographic Society in Lund, Sweden. Shiptime provided by US NSF IOS 1557430. We acknowledge SOLEIL for provision of synchrotron radiation facilities and the beamline NANOSCOPIUM (proposal number 20181115). The synchrotron‐based experiments were supported by CALIPSOplus under the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation HORIZON 2020 (grant agreement 730872). The SIMS analyses were jointly supported by the Swedish Museum of Natural History and Swedish Research Council. This is NordSIMS contribution No. 694. J. M. Bernhard and C. M. Hansel also acknowledge funding from the US National Science Foundation (IOS 1557430). Robert Gordon Sproul Nonionella

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. The Authors.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Geology

Free keywords

  • benthic foraminifera
  • Deoxygenation
  • micro-analytical techniques
  • Mn
  • Ca
  • proxy calibration


Dive into the research topics of 'Foraminiferal Mn/Ca as Bottom-Water Hypoxia Proxy: An Assessment of Nonionella stella in the Santa Barbara Basin, USA'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this