Articles | Volume 7, issue 8
06 Aug 2010
 | 06 Aug 2010

Heavy metal incorporation in foraminiferal calcite: results from multi-element enrichment culture experiments with Ammonia tepida

D. Munsel, U. Kramar, D. Dissard, G. Nehrke, Z. Berner, J. Bijma, G.-J. Reichart, and T. Neumann

Abstract. The incorporation of heavy metals into carbonate tests of the shallow water benthic foraminifer Ammonia tepida was investigated under controlled laboratory conditions. Temperature, salinity, and pH of the culture solutions were kept constant throughout the duration of this experiment, while trace metal concentrations were varied. Concentrations of Ni, Cu, and Mn were set 5-, 10-, and 20 times higher than levels found in natural North Sea water; for reference, a control experiment with pure filtered natural North Sea water was also analysed. The concentrations of Cu and Ni from newly grown chambers were determined by means of both μ-synchrotron XRF and Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (LA-ICP-MS). The results of both independent analytical techniques agreed within the analytical uncertainty. In general, the concentration of the analysed elements in the tests increased in line with their concentration in the culture solutions. Potential toxic and/or chemical competition effects might have resulted in the decreased incorporation of Ni and Cu into the calcite of the specimens exposed to the highest elemental concentrations. Mn incorporation exhibited large variability in the experiment with the 20-fold increased element concentrations, potentially due to antagonistic effects with Cu. The partition coefficients of Cu and Ni were calculated to be 0.14 ± 0.02 and 1.0 ± 0.5, respectively, whereas the partition coefficient of Mn was estimated to be least 2.4. These partition coefficients now open the way for reconstructing past concentrations for these elements in sea water.

Final-revised paper