Clumped Signatures of Shallow Water Corals in Tobago
Friday, 19 December 2014
The island of Tobago is seasonally bathed by the waters from the Orinoco and the Amazon and the δ18O of the coral skeleton responds annually to a change in temperature of approximately 4 °C as well as changes in the magnitude of outflow of the Orinoco, Amazon, and precipitation associated with the ITCZ. The clumped isotope makes it possible to distinguish the temperature induced δ18O signal from that exerted by the freshwater. We have utilized a specimen of Diploria strigosa collected in 1991 which has an extension rate of about 2 cm/yr allows between 4-5 samples to be collected within a yearly growth increment. Our data reveals temperature between 24 and 28 °C consistent with actual measurements and not offset towards lower values as in some previous studies. Once the temperature has been calculated it is possible to extract the δ18O of the water using one of the paleotemperature equations established for corals.