High resolution Sr/Ca records in modern Porites lobata corals: effects of skeletal extension rate and architecture

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[1] We used ion microprobe analysis to determine the Sr/Ca composition of fasciculi (deposited during the day) and centers of calcification (COCs, deposited at night) across transects of two Porites lobata corals, of different linear extension rates, from Oahu, Hawaii. The COCs of both corals contained significantly higher Sr/Ca than the fasciculi ( at the 95% confidence level). We observed no significant differences between the Sr/Ca ratios of the fasciculi ( or of the COCs) of the fast and slow growing corals, and we conclude that variations in the extension rate of each colony have not affected Sr incorporation in these corals. The fasciculi and COCs in both corals exhibit large Sr/Ca heterogeneity, which is not temperature dependent. Our data do not support the hypothesis that COC analyses provide a SST signature which is unaffected by biological or kinetic effects. The heterogeneity of both features may reflect short-term (daily to weekly) variations in calcification rate which are known to occur during the day and night and which influence the relative transport rates of Sr and Ca through the coral tissue. We plotted running means through the fasciculi and COC chronologies and compared maximum and minimum Sr/Ca values in each annual cycle with the corresponding minimum and maximum mean sea surface temperature ( SST) values ( calculated over equivalent time periods). We found that the constants C and M of the linear equation Sr/Ca = C + (M x SST) became smaller as the time interval used to calculate the running means increased from 1 day to similar to77 days. This decrease in C and M reflects the gradual removal of the short-term Sr heterogeneity ( dependent on biological and/or kinetic processes) from the data set as progressively larger numbers of data points are used to calculate the Sr/Ca running mean. We hypothesize that variations in M and C between different published Sr/Ca-SST calibrations may reflect the relative importance of biological or kinetic processes in corals at different locations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)Q05001/1-Q05001/10
Number of pages10
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2004


  • coral
  • Sr/Ca
  • skeletal extension rate
  • sea surface temperature
  • geochemistry : trace elements oceanography : general : paleoceanography
  • oceanography : biological and chemical : trace elements


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