Assessing the accuracy of oxygen isotopes and Sr/Ca as proxies of sea surface temperature at the extreme latitudinal limits of Porites corals

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Shoko Hirabayashi1, Yusuke Yokoyama1, Atsushi Suzuki2, Yuta Kawakubo1, Yosuke Miyairi1, Takashi Okai2 and Satoshi Nojima3, (1)AORI, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwa-Shi, Chiba, Japan, (2)AIST - National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tsukuba, Japan, (3)Amakusa Marine Biological Laboratory, Kyushu University, Kumamoto, Japan
Oxygen isotope and Sr/Ca ratios in harmatypic coral skeletons are widely employed as proxies of sea-surface temperature (SST) in paleoclimatology, yet they are considered to be influenced from growth rate of corals. Corals in temperate regions have lower skeletal growth rate because of relatively stressful environment, in particular lower SST than those in the tropics or subtropics. Dependency on SST proxies from those effects are required to be validated to better understand paleo-environment using temperate corals.

 This study reports Sr/Ca-based SST reconstructions for three temperate Porites coral colonies (USB93, USB12-01, USB12-03) collected from Kyushu, Japan, near the northern latitudinal limits of Porites. Results clearly indicated that Sr/Ca reliably reproduced SST variation, independent from growth rate variations, in contrast to δ18O-based reconstruction (Hirabayashi et al., 2013, Geochemical Journal). The inter-colony variation of skeletal Sr/Ca of two Porites corals (USB12-01, USB12-03) were observed. This is attributed to the difference in calcification processes between so called “smooth type” and “sharp type” proposed by Gagan et al. (2012) as is defined by the ratio of tissue thickness/extension rate. According to these observations, summer SST reconstruction can be achieved by a limited number of coral specimens in a temperate region with comparable accuracy to tropical and subtropical corals.