Carbon Isotope Record of Late Quaternary Coral Reefs: Possible Indx of Sea Surface Paleoproductivity

  1. E.T. Sundquist and
  2. W.S. Broecker
  1. Paul Aharon

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM032p0343

The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO: Natural Variations Archean to Present

The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO: Natural Variations Archean to Present

How to Cite

Aharon, P. (1985) Carbon Isotope Record of Late Quaternary Coral Reefs: Possible Indx of Sea Surface Paleoproductivity, in The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO: Natural Variations Archean to Present (eds E.T. Sundquist and W.S. Broecker), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM032p0343

Author Information

  1. Department of Geology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1985

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900605

Online ISBN: 9781118664322

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Keywords:

  • Carbon cycle (Biogeochemistry)—Congresses;
  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide—Congresses;
  • Geological time—Congresses;
  • Paleothermometry—Congresses;
  • Geology, Stratigraphic—Congresses

Summary

Giant clams (Tridacna gigas) associated with the raised coral reefs in New Guinea yield a δ13C record spanning the last 105 years which indicates a conspicuous 13C depletion during the interglacials and a pronounced 13C enrichment during the late ice age interstadials. The distinct positive correlation between the sea level and the δ13C records from the same stratigraphic sequence implies a coupling between climatic changes and the carbon cycle. The relationship between the metabolic rhythm of coral reef biota and δ13C variations, established from modern coral reefs, serves as an important guide for the quantitative assessment of the glacial-interglacial δ13C changes. Model estimates suggest that coral reefs formed during isotope stage 3 were about 2 to 3 times more productive than the interglacial coral reefs from the same sequence. The shifts in the metabolic performance of coral reefs are comparable with the productivity changes of the open ocean biota. The synchronous fertility changes in distinct compartments of the marine biota probably reflect a widespread feature of the ice age ocean and are attributed to contemporary variations in the nutrient chemistry of the ocean.