Microdistribution of Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, and Ba/Ca ratios in Pulleniatina obliquiloculata test by using a NanoSIMS: Implication for the vital effect mechanism



The Mg/Ca ratio within foraminiferal calcareous tests (shells) is widely used to reconstruct past seawater temperature. However, recent studies reported that the organic components within a test affect the Mg/Ca distribution. In this study, we have measured the Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, and Ba/Ca ratios within the planktonic foraminifera Pulleniatina obliquiloculata by using a NanoSIMS (secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS)), which has excellent spatial resolution (∼1 μm) and allows us to compare the distribution of chemical compositions with that of the organic components. Element compositions show banding distributions composed of alternately higher and lower values of those elemental ratios. The Mg/Ca ratios, previously considered to be mainly controlled by calcification temperature, show larger variations than the values expected from the seawater temperature at the habitat depth of P. obliquiloculata. Comparison of the elemental distribution with the test microstructure reveals that the bands of high Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios correspond with layers of the organic components. Such coincidence suggests that the organic components strongly affect the Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios within a test. In spite of the heterogeneous distribution, temperature estimated from the averaged Mg/Ca ratio within a test is consistent with seawater temperature at the habitat depth of P. obliquiloculata, indicating that whole Mg/Ca ratio of foraminiferal test may be useful as paleotemperature proxy. In contrast to the Mg/Ca ratio the heterogenity in Ba/Ca ratio, which previously has been considered to be mainly controlled by the ambient seawater composition, is not fully matched with the layers of the organic compositions. Although the organic components concentrate Ba, other unknown factors appear to also cause heterogenity in Ba incorporation.