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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 08 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 08 Aug 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Seawater pH reconstruction using boron isotopes in multiple planktonic foraminifera species with different depth habitats and their potential to constrain pH and pCO2 gradients

Maxence Guillermic1,6, Sambuddha Misra2,3, Robert Eagle1,5, Alexandra Villa6, Fengming Chang4, and Aradhna Tripati1,5,6 Maxence Guillermic et al.
  • 1Laboratoire Géosciences Océan UMR6538, UBO, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Rue Dumont d'Urville, 29280, Plouzané, France
  • 2The Godwin Laboratory for Palaeoclimate Research, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 3Indian Institute of Science, Centre for Earth Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560012, India
  • 4Key Laboratory of Marine Geology and Environment, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao 266071, China
  • 5Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California – Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
  • 6Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, UCLA, University of California – Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

Abstract. Boron isotope systematics of planktonic foraminifera from core-top sediments and culture experiments have been studied to investigate the sensitivity of δ11B of their calcite tests to seawater pH. However, our knowledge of the relationship between δ11B and pH remains incomplete for several taxa. Thus, to expand the potential scope of application of this proxy, we report data for 7 different species of planktonic foraminifera from sediment core-tops. We utilize a method for the measurement of small samples of foraminifera and calculate the δ11B-calcite sensitivity to pH for Globigerinoides ruber, Trilobus sacculifer (sacc or w/o sacc), Orbulina universa, Pulleniatina obliquiloculata, Neogloboquadrina dutertrei, Globorotalia menardii and Globorotalia tumida, including for unstudied coretops and species. The sensitivity of δ11Bcarbonate to δ11Bborate (eg. Δδ11Bcarbonate/Δδ11Bborate) in core-tops is close to unity. Deep-dwelling species closely follow the core-top calibration for O. universa, which is attributed to respiration-driven microenvironments, likely caused by light limitation for symbiont-bearing foraminifera. These taxa have diverse ecological preferences and are from sites that span a range of oceanographic regimes, including some that are in regions of air-sea equilibrium and others that are out of equilibrium with the atmosphere. Our data support the premise that utilizing boron isotope measurements of multiple species within a sediment core can be utilized to constrain vertical profiles of pH and pCO2 at sites spanning different oceanic regimes, thereby constraining changes in vertical pH gradients and yielding insights into the past behavior of the oceanic carbon pump.

Maxence Guillermic et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Maxence Guillermic et al.
Maxence Guillermic et al.
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Short summary
Boron isotope ratios (δ11B) of foraminifera are a promising proxy for seawater pH and can be used to constrain pCO2. In this study, we derived calibrations for new foraminiferal taxa which extend the application of the boron isotope proxy. We discuss the origin of different δ11B signatures in species and also discuss the potential of using multi-species δ11B analyses to constrain vertical pH and pCO2 gradients in ancient water columns to shed light on biogeochemical carbon cycling in the past.
Boron isotope ratios (δ11B) of foraminifera are a promising proxy for seawater pH and can be...