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Testing palaeo-environmental proxies in Jurassic belemnites: Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, Na/Ca, delta 18O and delta 13C

By J.M. McArthur, P. Doyle, Melanie Leng, K. Reeves, C.T. Williams, R. Garcia-Sanchez and R.J. Howarth


We test the hypothesis that the noise in belemnite records through time results from changing climate. We do so by comparing palaeo-proxies (Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, Na/Ca, δ18O, δ13C) in two species of Toarcian belemnites, Acrocoelites (Odontobelus) vulgaris (14 specimens) and Acrocoelites (Acrocoelites) subtenuis (10 specimens), deposited in a period of time that was short relative to the timescale of climate change. The specimens are interpreted to have been regurgitated from the stomach of a marine predator and so were deposited together in a geological instant of Early Jurassic time. In A. (O.) vulgaris, isotopic and elemental palaeo-proxies group tightly, suggesting that this belemnite occupied a restricted environmental niche. In A. (A.) subtenuis, elemental and isotopic compositions spread more widely, suggesting that this species occupied a greater range of habitats.\ud \ud Possible sexual dimorphism in A. (O.) vulgaris is reflected in bimodal Mg/Ca and differing intra-rostral distribution of Mg in putative dimorphs; concentrations decline by 30% from apical line to rim in specimens with high Mg/Ca, but are largely invariant radially in specimens with lower Mg/Ca. Sexual dimorphism in A. (A.) subtenuis yields a bimodality in size, Mg/Ca, and intra-rostral distribution of Mg; larger specimens have a higher Mg/Ca, and Mg concentrations that increase along radial traverses from apical line to rim, whilst the smaller specimens show a mid-rostral minimum in Mg concentration. Radial profiles of concentrations for Sr and Na vary little in all forms. Toarcian belemnites of these species thus show strong biofractionation effects on Mg/Ca, and little or no observable biofractionation of Sr/Ca or Na/Ca. It follows that much of the noise in belemnite records results from biofractionation, and from a cosmopolitan life-style of some belemnite species, rather than climate-change. For Toarcian belemnites, we suggest that Sr/Ca is the best indicator of palaeo-temperature.\u

Topics: Earth Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2007.05.006
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