Carbon stable isotope record in the coral species Siderastrea stellata: A link to the Suess Effect in the tropical South Atlantic Ocean
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Reason for embargo
Under embargo until 7th February 2019 in compliance with publisher policy.
Coral skeletons are natural archives whose geochemical signatures provide insights into the tropical ocean history beyond the instrumental record. Carbon stable isotopes from coral skeletons (δ13Ccoral) have been used as a proxy for multiple variables on a seasonal basis. Long-term changes in coral δ13C could be related to the changing isotopic composition of the dissolved inorganic carbon (δ13CDIC). δ13CDIC in turn reflects changes in the δ13C of atmospheric CO2, which in the modern Earth system is governed primarily by anthropogenic injection of CO2 into the atmosphere – a process known as the Suess Effect. Here we report three δ13C coral-based records of Siderastrea stellata from the tropical South Atlantic. U-series dating for the colonies 12SFB-1, 13SS-1 and 13SS-2 suggests these corals lived 13, 57 and 65 years, respectively. Short-term δ13C variations in their skeletal aragonite are dominated by interannual variation. All three δ13C records additionally exhibit an overall decreasing trend, with a depletion of about −0.0243 ± 0.0057‰·yr−1 (12SFB-1), −0.0208 ± 0.0007‰·yr−1 (13SS-1) and −0.0214 ± 0.0013‰·yr−1 (13SS-2). These rates of the coral records from Rocas Atoll are similar to the reported trend for the δ13C of atmospheric CO2 over the years 1960–1990 (−0.023 to −0.029‰·yr−1), and to the decreasing rates of global δ13CDIC. Our findings suggest that multiple δ13C coral-based records are required for confidently identifying local changes in the δ13CDIC of the ocean. This information, in turn, can be used to infer changes in the δ13C of the atmospheric CO2 composition and provide valuable information about recent changes on the carbon biogeochemical cycle during the Anthropocene epoch.
NSP acknowledges the National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq) for a Post-Doctoral Scholarship Proc. no 150405/2015-4. We thank the chief of the Biological Reserve of Rocas Atoll, Maurizélia de Brito Silva and the field team Tiago Albuquerque, Miguel Miranda, Mirella B. Costa and Eduardo Macêdo, for the great assistance in this study. We thank Gilsa Santana, Vilma Sobral (NEG-LABISE, Brazil) and Bo Petersen (University of Copenhagen) for assisting in stable isotope measurements. We are thankful for the critical and constructive comments of the anonymous reviewers. The 2013 field work was partially supported by National Geographic Waitt Foundation grant W21-12 to K.H.K. and R.K.P.K. U-Th dating was supported by grants from Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) (105-2119-M-002-001, 106-2628-M-002-013 to C.-C.S.) and the National Taiwan University (105R7625 to C.-C.S.). This manuscript is the scientific contribution no 288 of the NEG-LABISE, UFPE, a contribution of the Reef Ecosystems Working Group of the INCT Ambientes Marinhos Tropicais (InctAmbTropic – CNPq #565.054/2010-4) and represents contribution 5470 of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
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