The coralline red alga Lithophyllum kotschyanum f. affine as proxy of climate variability in the Yemen coast, Gulf of Aden (NW Indian Ocean)

A. Caragnano*, D. Basso, D. E. Jacob, D. Storz, G. Rodondi, F. Benzoni, E. Dutrieux

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent investigations have shown the potential of red coralline algae as paleoclimatic archive. A previously unexplored subfamily of coralline algae, the Lithophylloideae, was investigated from the Gulf of Aden (Balhaf, Yemen). Seasonal changes in Mg/Ca, Li/Ca and Ba/Ca composition of Lithophyllum kotschyanum f. affine were investigated by Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). For the first time in coralline algae, the Li/Ca composition was analyzed and showed a highly significant and positive correlation with Mg/Ca and SST. Monthly algal Mg/Ca and Li/Ca variations indicate a positive correlation with sea surface temperature (SST), and sea surface salinity (SSS), although low growth rates decrease the resolution of the algal record. Albeit no or weak positive correlation between monthly algal Ba/Ca and local SST was found, fluctuations in Ba/Ca suggest the seasonal influence of nutrient-rich deep waters introduced by upwelling, and record an increase of sedimentation at the sampling site likely due to an intensified land use in the area. The Mg/Ca age model shows an average algal extension rate of 1.15mmyr-1, and reveals multiple intra-annual banding (previously unreported in the genus Lithophyllum) together with carposporangia formation in late February-early March, when temperature begins to increase. The concentration of MgCO3 in the thallus of L. kotschyanum f. affine is 20mol% (1SE), confirming that within the genus, the species sampled in warmer regions contain higher mol% MgCO3. The concentrations of LiCO3 and BaCO3 are 8μmol% (0.7SE) and 0.5μmol% (0.03SE), respectively. Despite the limitations from low-growth rate and species-specific vital effect, coralline algae confirm their utility in climate and oceanographic reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Volume124
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

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