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Recent planktic foraminifers in the Fram Strait (Arctic Ocean): carbon and oxygen stable isotope composition


Theodora Pados, Robert F. Spielhagen, Dorothea Bauch, Hanno Meyer, Monika Segl


First Authors affiliation
Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR), Kiel, Germany.

AGU Fall Meeting 2012
San Francisco, USA
3-7 December 2012


In paleoceanographic reconstructions the carbon isotopic compositions (δ13C) of fossil foraminifers refer to, e.g., paleoproductivity and stratification, while oxygen isotopic (δ18O) records provide information about variations in sea surface temperatures and salinities in the past. However, for a correct interpretation of the fossil data it is important to improve our understanding of the correlation between recent oceanic variability and the composition of shells of living calcareous microorganisms. For this, the upper water column and sediment surface in the Fram Strait (Arctic Ocean, 78°50'N, 5°W-8°E) were sampled for planktic foraminifer species Neogloboquadrina pachyderma (sin.) and Turborotalita quinqueloba with a large-diameter multinet and a multicorer, respectively. The δ13C and δ18O values of the shells are compared to the stable isotope composition of the ambient water and to equilibrium calcite values to define the preferred calcification depths of the foraminifers and to determine the factors controlling the isotopic signature of these calcareous microorganisms. The study area was chosen because of its high oceanographic variability: in the eastern Fram Strait the northward flowing West Spitsbergen Current (WSC) carries Atlantic Water, with a thin mixed layer on top, while in the west the upper 200 m consists of cold, low-saline Arctic outflow waters of the East Greenland Current (EGC) and warmer, saline waters of Atlantic origin underneath. Despite this variable oceanographic regime along the studied transect, the stable carbon isotope ratios of the shells do not show major differences according to their horizontal but to their vertical distribution: the δ13C values of N. pachyderma (sin.) from plankton tow samples vary roughly between -1 and -0.1‰ depending on the water depth, while the δ18O values of the tests differ more between the stations.

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