USP Electronic Research Repository

Warm ocean processes and carbon cycling in the Eocene

John, Eleanor H. and Pearson, Paul N. and Coxall, Helen K. and Birch, Heather and Wade, Bridget S. and Foster, Gavin L. (2013) Warm ocean processes and carbon cycling in the Eocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 371 (2001). NA. ISSN 1364-503X

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (1017Kb)

    Abstract

    Sea surface and subsurface temperatures over large parts of the ocean during the Eocene epoch (55.5–33.7 Ma) exceeded modern values by several degrees, which must have affected a number of oceanic processes. Here, we focus on the effect of elevated water column temperatures on the efficiency of the biological pump, particularly in relation to carbon and nutrient cycling. We use stable isotope values from exceptionally well-preserved planktonic foraminiferal calcite from Tanzania and Mexico to reconstruct vertical carbon isotope gradients in the upper water column, exploiting the fact that individual species lived and calcified at different depths. The oxygen isotope ratios of different species' tests are used to estimate the temperature of calcification, which we converted to absolute depths using Eocene temperature profiles generated by general circulation models. This approach, along with potential pitfalls, is illustrated using data from modern core-top assemblages from the same area. Our results indicate that, during the Early and Middle Eocene, carbon isotope gradients were steeper (and larger) through the upper thermocline than in the modern ocean. This is consistent with a shallower average depth of organic matter remineralization and supports previously proposed hypotheses that invoke high metabolic rates in a warm Eocene ocean, leading to more efficient recycling of organic matter and reduced burial rates of organic carbon.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
    G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
    Q Science > Q Science (General)
    Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
    Depositing User: USP RSC Assistant
    Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2017 15:53
    Last Modified: 05 Oct 2017 15:53
    URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/10199
    UNSPECIFIED

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads

    More statistics for this item...