Reproducibility of Ba/Ca variations recorded by northeast Pacific bamboo corals Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Trace elemental ratios preserved in the calcitic skeleton of bamboo corals have been shown to serve as archives of past ocean conditions. The concentration of dissolved barium (BaSW), a bioactive nutrientlike element, is linked to biogeochemical processes such as the cycling and export of nutrients. Recent work has calibrated bamboo coral Ba/Ca, a new BaSW proxy, using corals spanning the oxygen minimum zone beneath the California Current System. However, it was previously unclear whether Ba/Cacoral records were internally reproducible. Here we investigate the accuracy of using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry for Ba/Cacoral analyses and test the internal reproducibility of Ba/Ca among replicate radial transects in the calcite of nine bamboo corals collected from the Gulf of Alaska (643720m) and the California margin (8702054m). Data from replicate Ba/Ca transects were aligned using visible growth bands to account for nonconcentric growth; smoothed data were reproducible within ~4% for eight corals (n=3 radii/coral). This intracoral reproducibility further validates using bamboo coral Ba/Ca for BaSW reconstructions. Sections of the Ba/Ca records that were potentially influenced by noncarbonate bound Ba phases occurred in regions where elevated Mg/Ca or Pb/Ca and coincided with anomalous regions on photomicrographs. After removing these regions of the records, increased Ba/Cacoral variability was evident in corals between ~800 and 1500m. These findings support additional proxy validation to understand BaSW variability on interannual timescales, which could lead to new insights into deep sea biogeochemistry over the past several centuries.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 5.7

author list (cited authors)

  • Marks, G. S., LaVigne, M., Hill, T. M., Sauthoff, W., Guilderson, T. P., Roark, E. B., Dunbar, R. B., & Horner, T. J.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Marks, G Serrato||LaVigne, M||Hill, TM||Sauthoff, W||Guilderson, TP||Roark, EB||Dunbar, RB||Horner, TJ

publication date

  • January 1, 2017 11:11 AM