Seasonal production patterns of planktonic foraminifera in the NE Atlantic Ocean: Implications for paleotemperature and hydrographic reconstructions

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Abstract

Sediment trap samples from OMEX 2 (49°N, 13°W) provide a continuous record of the seasonal succession of planktonic foraminifera in the midlatitude North Atlantic and reveal a complex relationship between periods of production and specific hydrographic conditions. Neogloboquadrina pachyderma dextral coiling (d.), Globigerina bulloides, and Globorotalia inflata are found in great numbers during both the spring and summer seasons, whereas Globigerina quinqueloba, Globorotalia hirsuta, Globorotalia scitula, and Globigerinita glutinata are associated predominantly with the increase in productivity during the spring bloom. Globigerinella aequilateralis, Orbulina universa, and Globigerinoides sacculifer are restricted to late summer conditions following the establishment of a warm, well-stratified surface ocean. An annually integrated fauna from the sediment trap, comprising ~13,000 individuals, is used to evaluate the accuracy of five faunal-based statistical methods of paleotemperature estimation. All of the temperature reconstruction techniques produce estimates of ~16°C and ~11°C for summer and winter surface temperature, respectively, which are in excellent agreement with regional hydrographic data and suggest that the sediment trap assemblage is well represented in the core top faunas. Analysis of the key species that dominate the OMEX 2 sediment trap fauna, G. bulloides, G. inflata, and N. pachyderma d., based on d18O derived temperatures from North Atlantic core top samples, suggests that seasonal variations in planktonic foraminiferal production are nonuniform across the midlatitudes and that this is likely to complicate reconstructing past seasonal hydrographic dynamics using these taxa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)PA1101
JournalPaleoceanography
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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