Effect of salinity and seawater calcite saturation state on Mg and Sr incorporation in cultured planktonic foraminifera

Adriana Dueñas-Bohórquez, Régine Elisabeth da Rocha, Azumi Kuroyanagi, Jelle Bijma, Gert Jan Reichart

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Trace elements incorporated in planktonic foraminiferal test carbonate are commonly used as paleoproxies. For instance, Mg/Ca ratios are frequently used for reconstructing sea surface temperature and, together with the foraminiferal stable oxygen isotope ratios, are also used as paleosalinity proxy. Foraminiferal Sr/Ca ratios constitute another example of the application of trace elements in paleostudies since they may reflect the Sr/Ca values of seawater. However, over the past few decades it has been proven that the incorporation of trace elements in foraminiferal calcite is controlled by more than one environmental parameter. To quantify the effect of salinity on Mg and Sr incorporation planktonic foraminifera Globigerinoides sacculifer (sensu stricto) were grown in the laboratory under different environmental conditions. Laboratory experiments allowed us to separate a direct salinity effect from a possible independent impact through differences in the calcite saturation state of the seawater (Ω). Although the temperature effect is more important than the salinity effect, a change of 4 salinity units is equivalent to a 1 °C bias on Mg/Ca-based temperatures. This effect of salinity on Mg incorporation is minor. However, when using Mg/Ca-based temperatures in combination with foraminiferal δ18O to calculate salinity, it cannot be neglected. The present study shows salinity as the overriding control on Mg incorporation within the range of Ω studied (Ω between 5.25 and 6.50; [CO32-] between 218 and 270 μmol/kg) at a constant temperature of 26 °C. In contrast, Ω appears to be the main control on foraminiferal Sr incorporation (0.10 mmol/mol per 100 μmol/kg rise in [CO32-]), whereas salinity has a non significant influence on Sr/Ca.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-189
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Micropaleontology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Dec


  • carbonate ion concentration ([CO])
  • carbonate saturation state of the seawater (Ω)
  • Mg/Ca
  • planktonic foraminifera
  • salinity
  • Sr/Ca


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