A low seasonality scenario in the Mediterranean Sea during the Calabrian (Early Pleistocene) inferred from fossil Arctica islandica shells


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gotje.von.leesen [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Understanding past seasonal temperature variability in the ocean is essential to evaluate the effects of future climate change on marine ecosystems. Here, we estimate seasonal water temperature amplitudes from stable oxygen isotope (δ18Oshell) values of fossil shells of Arctica islandica (assuming δ18Owater = + 0.9 ± 0.1‰ V-SMOW). Specimens were collected from three Pleistocene successions (Emilian and Sicilian substages of the Calabrian) in Central and Southern Italy (i.e., Rome, Lecce and Sicily). Biostratigraphic analyses from Rome Quarry deposits indicate an age between 1.6 and 1.2 Ma, whereas Sicily and Lecce successions are slightly more recent (between 1.1 and 0.62 Ma). Prior to carbonate geochemical analysis, we checked the shells for potential diagenetic alterations (e.g., from aragonite to calcite) using confocal Raman microscopy. δ18Oshell transects indicate an annual temperature amplitude of about 3 °C during the Early Pleistocene. This is in sharp contrast to reconstructions based on faunal assemblages, according to which the simultaneous occurrence of boreal and warm-water species in the Calabrian Mediterranean Sea suggests a much higher seasonality (ca. 10 °C). The low seasonality and the relatively cold water (9–10 °C) indicate the outcrops represent colder climatic conditions compared to modern times, and suggest the occurrence of a maximum glacial phase.



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Scopus/ISI peer-reviewed
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Accepted
Eprint ID
45360
DOI 10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.07.027

Cite as
von Leesen, G. , Beierlein, L. , Scarponi, D. , Schöne, B. R. and Brey, T. (2017): A low seasonality scenario in the Mediterranean Sea during the Calabrian (Early Pleistocene) inferred from fossil Arctica islandica shells , Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology . doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.07.027


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