Carbon and oxygen isotope records from tridacna derasa shells: Toward establishing a reliable proxy for sea surface environments

Junpei Yamanashi, Hideko Takayanagi, Ayaka Isaji, Ryuji Asami, Yasufumi Iryu

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15 Citations (Scopus)


We report the carbon (δ13 C) and oxygen (δ 18 O) isotope records of three modern Tridacna derasa shells from Ishigaki-jima, southwestern Japan. The high-resolution δ13C profiles of samples from the inner shell layer on cross-sections fall within similar narrow ranges and display no regular variations or trends, such as an ontogenetic trend or abrupt short-term drops likely to be related to reproductive activity. This suggests that the calcification site of this species is not likely affected by photosynthetic CO2 uptake or CO2 incorporation during respiration. The δ18 O profiles show distinct seasonal cycles. The intraspecific variability in the δ18O values is small in parts of the shell precipitated in the adult stage, but is not negligible in the juvenile and senescent stages. The differences in the monthly and seasonally resolved δ18 O values among shells are less than 0.51‰ and 0.76‰, respectively. The shell δ18 O values are nearly identical or close to the δ18O values for aragonite precipitated in oxygen isotope equilibrium with ambient seawater (δ18O EA ). The largest differences between the shell δ18 O and δ18O EA values calculated from the monthly and seasonally resolved data correspond to an overestimate of the seawater temperature by as much as 1.7° C and 2.3° C, respectively. However, these differences are smaller in the adult stage (<0.25‰) than in the other stages. This small difference allows an accurate reconstruction of the seawater temperature with an error of <1.1° C. Consequently, we recommend that multiple shell records be obtained because of the non-negligible intraspecific variations in their δ18 O values. Growth banding, composed of alternating narrow white bands and wide light-grey bands, is discernible on cross-sections of the inner shell layer. The δ18 Oshell data indicate that they were formed in winter and the other seasons, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0157659
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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