Abstract

Isotopic data (C and O) derived from Callovian (Middle Jurassic) mollusks (bivalves, ammonites and belemnoids, including true belemnites and Belemnotheutis) are presented from a narrow stratigraphic interval in the Christian Malford Lagerstätte, UK. The exceptionally well-preserved mollusks include aragonite-calcite pairs precipitated by individual belemnite animals that enable an assessment of possible “vital” effects and the reliability of using belemnite calcite to determine ocean water compositions. The oxygen isotope data derived from the calcitic rostra of the belemnites (Cylindroteuthis) show modest variability, ranging from −1.2 to 0.9‰ (V-PDB), while their accompanying aragonitic phragmocones range from −1.4 to 0.0‰. Data derived from the ammonite Kosmoceras show some scatter, with oxygen isotope values varying from −3.6 to −0.2‰. The aragonite data from Cylindroteuthis, Kosmoceras and Belemnotheutis all overlap, suggesting they inhabited similar (surface) water depths. However, the corresponding data from the calcitic rostra of the Cylindroteuthis specimens suggest temperatures ∼ 5°C cooler. As we have analyzed aragonite-calcite pairs, the discrepancy cannot be explained by environmental effects. Though clearly a vital effect, it is difficult to resolve whether the temperatures derived from the aragonite (phragmocone) are too warm or from the calcite (rostrum) are too cool. Consequently, the applicability of standard paleotemperature equations to Cylindroteuthid belemnite rostra remains unproven. Sequentially sampled ontogenetic isotope data derived from Belemnotheutis phragmocones reveal only modest δ18O variation, consistent with limited movement between warmer (shallower) and cooler (deeper) waters. A coincidental systematic pattern of δ13C enrichment may signal changes in metabolic activity associated with a shift in ecology or feeding with age.

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