24 Apr 2023
 | 24 Apr 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Element/Ca ratios in Nodosariida (Foraminifera) and their potential application for paleoenvironmental reconstructions

Laura Pacho, Lennart de Nooijer, and Gert-Jan Reichart

Abstract. The chemical composition of foraminiferal shells is a well-known tool in paleoceanography to reconstruct past environments and climate. Their application is based on the relation between environmental variables and the concentration of elements incorporated or stable isotope fractionation during calcification. The vast majority of these so-called proxy-relationships are based on the foraminiferal order of the Rotaliida, that for example, encompass all living planktonic species. However, there are more orders of foraminifera with calcifying members, some of which that have fundamentally different biomineralization pathways, such as the Nodosariida, the Polymorphinida and the Vaginulinida. All these belong to the class of the Nodosariata and produce calcite shells, which may serve as carriers of paleo-environmental and climate signals. The microstructures of these shells and overall morphology of these foraminifera strongly deviate from the Rotaliida, suggesting that their elemental and stable isotopic composition do not necessarily respond similarly to environmental parameters. A potential advantage of the Nodosariata is that they appear considerably earlier in the fossil record (Carboniferous) than the Rotaliida (Jurassic), thereby possibly extending the range of foraminifer-based paleoceanographic reconstructions considerably. To test the potential application of Nodosariata foraminifera as paleoproxies, we investigated incorporation of 5 elements in 11 species as a function of environmental parameters from a transect sampled in the Gulf of Mexico. Their element composition (B/Ca, Na/Ca, Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca) shows a distinct geochemical signature for these foraminifera different to that of members of other foraminiferal orders. Results also show an increase in Mg/Ca values with increasing temperature, similar to that know for the Rotaliida, which suggest that Nodosariata shells might be useful for paleotemperature reconstructions. The difference in Mg/Ca-temperature calibration in Nodosariata compared to Rotaliida, with the large differences in their morphology, shell's microstructures and overall geochemical composition, suggests that the Mg/Ca to temperature relationship is partly independent of the exact calcification mechanism. We compare Mg/Ca-temperature sensitivities across foraminiferal orders and describe a relationship between the average Mg/Ca and the sensitivity of the Mg/Ca-temperature calibration. For other elements, the variability across orders is smaller compared to that in Mg/Ca, which results in more similar El/Ca-environmental calibrations.

Laura Pacho et al.

Status: open (until 22 Jun 2023)

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Laura Pacho et al.

Laura Pacho et al.


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Short summary
We analyzed Mg/Ca and other El/Ca (Na/Ca, B/Ca, Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca) in Nodosariata. Their calcite chemistry is markedly different to that of the other calcifying orders of foraminifera. We show a relation between the species average Mg/Ca and its sensitivity to changes in temperature. Differences were reflected in both the Mg incorporation and the sensitivities of Mg/Ca to temperature.