Publication Detail

Growth rates, stable oxygen isotopes (δ18O), and strontium (Sr/Ca) composition in two species of Pacific sclerosponges (Acanthocheatetes wellsi and Astrosclera willeyana) with δ18O calibration and application to paleoceanography

Andréa G. Grottoli, Jess Adkins, Wendy R. Panero, Daniel M. Reaman, Kate Moots
14 pp.
MITSG 10-31
$5.50 DOM / $7.50 INT

The isotopic and elemental composition of sclerosponge skeletons is used to reconstruct paleoceanographic records. Yet few studies have systematically examined the natural variability in sclerosponge skeletal δ18O, growth, and Sr/Ca, and how that may influence the interpretation of sclerosponge proxy records. Here, we analyzed short records in seven specimens of Acanthocheatetes wellsi (high-Mg calcite, 21 mol% Mg) from Palau, four A. wellsi (high-Mg calcite, 21 mol% Mg) from Saipan, and three Astrosclera willeyana (aragonite) sclerosponges from Saipan, as well as one long record in an A. wellsi specimen from Palau spanning 1945–2001.5. In Saipan, species-specific and mineralogical effects appear to have a negligible effect on sclerosponge δ18O, facilitating the direct comparison of δ18O records between species at a given location. At both sites, A. wellsi δ18O and growth rates were sensitive to environmental conditions, but Sr/Ca was not sensitive to the same conditions. High-resolution δ18O analyses confirmed this finding as both A. wellsi and A. willeyana deposited their skeleton in accordance with the trends in isotopic equilibrium with seawater, though with a 0.27‰ offset in the case of A. willeyana. In the high-Mg-calcite species A. wellsi, Mg may be interfering with Sr incorporation into the skeleton. On multidecadal timescales, A. wellsi sclerosponge δ18O in Palau tracked the Southern Oscillation Index variability post-1977, but not pre-1977, coincident with the switch in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) at ∼1976. This suggests that water mass circulation in the region is influenced by El Niño— Southern Oscillation variability during positive PDO phases, but not during negative ones.

type: Journal, book, proceeding reprints

Parent Project

Project No.: 2008-R/RT-2/RCM-23
Title: Autonomous Vehicle Exploration and Sampling of Deep-Water Corals