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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022 / The potential of high-resolution stable isotope records in the bivalve Angulus benedeni benedeni's shells to investigate Pliocene seasonality

Nina Wichem, Niels J de Winter, M. Ziegler, A. Johnson, M. Hamers, and Stijn Goolaerts (2022)

The potential of high-resolution stable isotope records in the bivalve Angulus benedeni benedeni's shells to investigate Pliocene seasonality

In: EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts, pp. EGU22-4634 .

Obtaining temperature data from the mid-Piacenzian warm period (mPWP) is a key factor in understanding the coming changes brought upon by anthropogenic climate change. The mPWP, a high-CO2 world with a paleogeography similar to modern times, has been used to validate and improve model retrodictions, which in turn enables assessing the prediction strength of these models1. For the first time, stable isotope analysis has been applied to the extinct tellinid bivalve Angulus benedeni benedeni, originating from the mid-Piacenzian of the Lillo Formation of Belgium in the southern North Sea basin. Multi-annual oxygen isotope records with a seasonal resolution obtained from its shell indicate that this species could live for up to a decade and formed monthly growth increments. From this oxygen isotope record, a clumped-isotope-based mean annual temperature of 12.6 ± 3.6°C was reconstructed. This is 2.1°C warmer than today2,3, 2.6°C warmer than the pre-industrial North Sea2, and in line with global Pliocene temperature estimates of +2-4°C compared to the pre-industrial climate4,5. The pristine nature of the aragonitic shell material was verified through electron backscatter diffraction analysis (EBSD), and backed up by light microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray fluorescence. The various microstructures as obtained from the EBSD maps have been described, and they provide a template of pristine A. benedeni benedeni material to which potentially altered shells may be compared. The bivalve A. benedeni benedeni is suitable for high resolution isotope-based paleoclimatic reconstruction and it can be used to unravel the marine conditions in the Pliocene North Sea basin at a seasonal scale, yielding enhanced insight into imminent western European climate conditions.1Dowsett, H. J. et al. Assessing confidence in Pliocene sea surface temperatures to evaluate predictive models. Nature Climate Change 2, 365-371 (2012). 2Emeis, K.-C. et al. The North Sea — A shelf sea in the Anthropocene. Journal of Marine Systems 141, 18-33 (2015). 3Locarnini, R. A. et al. World Ocean Atlas 2018, Volume 1: Temperature. NOAA Atlas NESDIS 81. A. Mishonov, Technical Editor. 52pp. (2019). 4Dowsett, H. J. et al. Sea surface temperature of the mid-Piacenzian ocean: a data-model comparison. Scientific reports 3, 1-8 (2013). 5Haywood, A. M. et al. The Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project Phase 2: large-scale climate features and climate sensitivity. Clim. Past 16, 2095-2123 (2020).
Abstract of an Oral Presentation or a Poster
  • DOI: 10.5194/egusphere-egu22-4634

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