ABSTRACT

Planktonic foraminifera tests can suffer dissolution, which usually involves partial damage, weight loss, and fragmentation. Since planktonic foraminifera assemblages, consisting of different resistant/susceptible species, can be strongly modified by dissolution, it is imperative to quantify its effect. The fragmentation index proposed 50 years ago has been used widely to measure preservation of planktonic foraminifera tests, but calibrations to this method are necessary. Some revisions are based on assumptions, like a certain number of fragments produced by a unique test, which is then used to compare whole tests with the dissolution remains. Likewise, researchers do not agree on what they count and how they identify what they count. Here we present a standardized and less subjective method, called fragmentation intensity (FI), to better assess the fragmentation of planktonic foraminifera through image software analysis, which includes both fragmentation remains (fragments and broken tests) and their measured area and perimeter. When compared to calcium carbonate content, grain sand content, and planktonic foraminifera tests per gram of dry sediment, the FI method derived better correlation values than the broken and fragments indexes. Future studies, in varying oceanographic contexts, can test this method to improve confidence, and eventually possibly adapt the index into a proxy for calcium carbonate undersaturation.

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