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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-405
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-405
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 15 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 15 Nov 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Benthic foraminifera as tracers of brine production in Storfjorden sea ice factory

Eleonora Fossile1, Maria Pia Nardelli1, Arbia Jouini1, Bruno Lansard2, Antonio Pusceddu3, Davide Moccia3, Elisabeth Michel2, Olivier Péron4, Hélène Howa1, and Meryem Mojtahid1 Eleonora Fossile et al.
  • 1LPG-BIAF UMR 6112, Univerité d’Angers, CNRS, UFR Sciences, 2 bd Lavoisier 49045, Angers Cedex 01, France
  • 2LSCE, UMR 8212, IPSL-CEA-CNRS-UVSQ-Université Paris Saclay, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 3Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Cagliari, 09126 Cagliari, Italy
  • 4SUBATECH, UMR 6457, CNRS-Université de Nantes, 4 rue A. Kastler, 44307 Nantes, France

Abstract. The rapid response of benthic foraminifera to environmental factors (e.g., organic matter quality and quantity, salinity, pH) and their high fossilisation potential make them promising bio-indicators for the intensity and recurrence of brine formation in Arctic seas. Such approach, however, requires a thorough knowledge of their modern ecology in such extreme settings. To this aim, seven stations along a N–S transect across the Storfjorden (Svalbard archipelago) have been sampled using an interface multicorer. This fjord is an area of intense sea ice formation characterised by the production of Brine-enriched Shelf Waters (BSW) as a result of a recurrent latent-heat polynya. Living (Rose Bengal stained) foraminiferal assemblages were analysed together with geochemical and sedimentological parameters in the top five centimetres of the sediment. Three major biozones were distinguished: (i) the inner fjord dominated by typical glacier proximal calcareous species which opportunistically respond to fresh organic matter inputs; (ii) the deep basins and sill characterised by glacier distal agglutinated faunas. These latter are either dominant because of the mostly refractory nature of organic matter and/or the brine persistence that hampers the growth of calcareous species and/or causes their dissolution. (iii) The outer fjord characterised by typical North Atlantic species due to the intrusion of the North Atlantic water in the Storfjordrenna. The stressful conditions present in the deep basins and sill (i.e. acidic waters and low food quality) result in a high agglutinated/calcareous ratio (A / C). This supports the potential use of the A / C ratio as a proxy for brine persistence and overflow in Storfjorden.

Eleonora Fossile et al.
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Eleonora Fossile et al.
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Short summary
This study focuses on the benthic foraminiferal distribution in an Arctic fjord characterised by continuous sea ice production during winter and the consequent cascading of salty and corrosive waters (brines) to the seabed. The inner fjord is dominated by calcareous species (C). In the central deep basins, where brines are persistent, calcareous foraminifera are dissolved and agglutinated (A) dominate. The high A / C ratio is suggested as a proxy for brine persistence and sea ice production.
This study focuses on the benthic foraminiferal distribution in an Arctic fjord characterised by...
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