Faculté des sciences

Environmental constraints on Holocene cold‐water coral reef growth off Norway: Insights from a multiproxy approach

Raddatz, Jacek ; Liebetrau, Volker ; Trotter, Julie ; Rüggeberg, Andres ; Flögel, Sascha ; Dullo, Wolf-Christian ; Eisenhauer, Anton ; Voigt, Silke ; McCulloch, Malcolm

In: Paleoceanography, 2016, vol. 31, no. 10, p. 1350–1367

High-latitude cold-water coral (CWC) reefs are particularly susceptible due to enhanced CO₂ uptake in these regions. Using precisely dated (U/Th) CWCs (Lophelia pertusa) retrieved during research cruise POS 391 (Lopphavet 70.6°N, Oslofjord 59°N) we applied boron isotopes (δ¹¹B), Ba/Ca, Li/Mg, and U/Ca ratios to reconstruct the environmental boundary conditions of CWC reef growth. The... More

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    Summary
    High-latitude cold-water coral (CWC) reefs are particularly susceptible due to enhanced CO₂ uptake in these regions. Using precisely dated (U/Th) CWCs (Lophelia pertusa) retrieved during research cruise POS 391 (Lopphavet 70.6°N, Oslofjord 59°N) we applied boron isotopes (δ¹¹B), Ba/Ca, Li/Mg, and U/Ca ratios to reconstruct the environmental boundary conditions of CWC reef growth. The sedimentary record from these CWC reefs reveals a lack of corals between ~6.4 and 4.8 ka. The question remains if this phenomenon is related to changes in the carbonate system or other causes. The initial postglacial setting had elevated Ba/Ca ratios, indicative of meltwater fluxes showing a decreasing trend toward cessation at 6.4 ka with an oscillation pattern similar to continental glacier fluctuations. Downcore U/Ca ratios reveal an increasing trend, which is outside the range of modern U/Ca variability in L. pertusa, suggesting changes of seawater pH near 6.4 ka. The reconstructed bottom water temperature at Lopphavet reveals a striking similarity to Barent sea surface and subsea surface temperature records. We infer that meltwater pulses weakened the North Atlantic Current system, resulting in southward advances of cold and CO₂-rich Arctic waters. A corresponding shift in the δ¹¹B record from ~25.0‰ to ~27.0‰ probably implies enhanced pH up-regulation of the CWCs due to the higher pCO₂ concentrations of ambient seawater, which hastened mid-Holocene CWC reef decline on the Norwegian margin.