This is part of Work Package 1 of NESSC (Netherlands Earth System Science Centre)
The main aim of this project is to develop an independent proxy for seawater salinity, based on the incorporation of elements in foraminiferal calcite. Previous research has shown that sodium incorporation is positively correlated to salinity. We aim to extend the Na/Ca – salinity calibration for different species of benthic and planktonic foraminifera, through culture and field studies and test applicability downcore, in a multi-proxy approach.
So far we have cultured the benthic species A. lessonii over a salinity range from 25 to 45 psu at the NIOZ. LA-ICP-MS analyses confirm a significant positive linear relationship between Na/Ca and salinity. Culture experiments with planktonic and benthic species have been carried out at the CNSI on St. Eustatius during November-December 2015. Calcite and culture water chemistry are now further analyzed at the NIOZ. Plankton pump, multinet, multi- and piston core samples were taken during the NESSC cruise of Januari-Februari 2016, covering a broad salinity range. Samples will be further processed and analyzed at the NIOZ. During two expeditions to the Mediterranean samples have been collected for extending the calibration towards the natural environment.
There appears to be a high inter and intra-individual variability in Na/Ca values. Also between species there might be differences in Na/Ca values. To explain such differences and constrain uncertainties, a mechanistic understanding of sodium incorporation into foraminiferal calcite is required. Therefore, we will investigate biomineralisation controls on foraminiferal calcite chemistry such as precipitation rate and processes at the site of calcification. Electron microprobe mapping allows us to study the distribution of element to calcium ratios within the chamber wall. Preliminary results show elevated zones of different elements (Mg, S, Na), apparently related to individual chamber addition events.