Ba incorporation in benthic foraminifera

Gernot.Nehrke [ at ]


Barium (Ba) incorporated in the calcite of many foraminiferal species is proportional to the concentration of Ba in seawater. Since the open ocean concentration of Ba closely follows seawater alkalinity, foraminiferal Ba ∕ Ca can be used to reconstruct the latter. Alternatively, Ba ∕ Ca from foraminiferal shells can also be used to reconstruct salinity in coastal settings in which seawater Ba concentration corresponds to salinity as rivers contain much more Ba than seawater. Incorporation of a number of minor and trace elements is known to vary (greatly) between foraminiferal species, and application of element ∕ Ca ratios thus requires the use of species-specific calibrations. Here we show that calcite Ba ∕ Ca correlates positively and linearly with seawater Ba ∕ Ca in cultured specimens of two species of benthic foraminifera: Heterostegina depressa and Amphistegina lessonii. The slopes of the regression, however, vary two- to threefold between these two species (0.33 and 0.78, respectively). This difference in Ba partitioning resembles the difference in partitioning of other elements (Mg, Sr, B, Li and Na) in these foraminiferal taxa. A general trend across element partitioning for different species is described, which may help develop new applications of trace elements in foraminiferal calcite in reconstructing past seawater chemistry.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.5194/bg-14-3387-2017

Cite as
de Nooijer, L. J. , Brombacher, A. , Mewes, A. , Langer, G. , Nehrke, G. , Bijma, J. and Reichart, G. J. (2017): Ba incorporation in benthic foraminifera , Biogeosciences, 14 (14), pp. 3387-3400 . doi: 10.5194/bg-14-3387-2017



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