Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca and Ca isotope ratios in benthonic foraminifers related to test structure, mineralogy and environmental controls

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We analysed Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca and Ca isotope ratios of benthonic foraminifers from sediment core tops retrieved during several research cruises in the Atlantic Ocean, in order to improve the understanding of isotope fractionation and element partitioning resulting from biomineralisation processes and changes in ambient conditions. Species include foraminifers secreting tests composed of hyaline low magnesium calcite, porcelaneous high magnesium calcite as well as aragonite. Our results demonstrate systematic isotope fractionation and element partitioning patterns specific for these foraminiferal groups. Calcium isotope fractionation is similar in porcelaneous and hyaline calcite tests and both groups demonstrate the previously described anomaly with enrichment of heavy isotopes around 3-4 degrees C (Gussone and Filipsson, 2010). Calcium isotope ratios of the aragonitic species Hoeglundina elegans, on the other hand, are about 0.4 parts per thousand lighter compared to the calcitic species, which is in general agreement with stronger fractionation in inorganic aragonite compared to calcite. However, the low and strongly variable Sr content suggests additional processes during test formation, and we propose that transmembrane ion transport or a precursor phase to aragonite may be involved. Porcelaneous tests, composed of high Mg calcite, incorporate higher amounts of Sr compared to hyaline low Mg calcite, in agreement with inorganic calcite systematics, but also porcelaneous tests with reduced Mg/Ca show high Sr/Ca. While calcium isotopes, Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca in benthonic foraminifers primarily appear to fractionate and partition with a dominant inorganic control, delta Ca-44/40 temperature and growth rate dependencies of benthonic foraminifer tests favour a dominant contribution of light Ca by transmembrane transport relative to unfractionated seawater Ca to the calcifying fluid, thus controlling the formation of foraminiferal delta Ca-44/40 and Sr/Ca proxy signals. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geochemistry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-159
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch