Abstract

Oxygen and carbon isotopic analyses have been performed on the tests of Planulina wuellerstorfi and three size fractions of sinistral Neogloboquadrina pachyderma recovered from 33 Arctic Ocean surface-sediment samples. Stable isotopic compositions of N. pachyderma are found to be dependent on the test size: larger specimens show considerable enrichment in both δ18O and δ18C. The difference between the isotopic compositions of the 63–125 and 125–250 μm size fractions in N. pachyderma can be explained by biogenic fractionation effects during foraminiferal test growth. Larger (250–500 μm) N. pachyderma displayed accretions of secondary calcite, i.e., the outermost shell contained significant amounts of inorganically precipitated magnesium calcite. Thus, larger foraminifera may not be suited for down-core stable isotopic studies. There is a difference of ~2‰ between δ18O values of surface samples from the eastern and western Arctic Ocean, reflecting large differences between surface-water salinity in these regions. Therefore, oxygen isotopic data may have limited use as a chronostratigraphic tool in down-core studies in the Arctic Ocean, but we can use them to infer past variations in surface-water salinities. Planulina wuellerstorfi also showed depletions of both δ18O and δ18C in its calcite tests relative to calcite precipitated in isotopic equilibrium with ambient sea water; these depletions ranged from −0.8 to −0.9‰ in δ18Oand −1.2 to −0.9‰ in δ18C. This taxon is found to deposit its shell very close to the δ18C of ΣCO2 of bottom waters.

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