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Foraminifera as paleoenvironmental tracers

English title Foraminifera as paleoenvironmental tracers
Applicant Spezzaferri Silvia
Number 117928
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Département des Géosciences Université de Fribourg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline Palaeontology
Start/End 01.10.2007 - 30.09.2010
Approved amount 167'820.00
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Keywords (10)

Foraminifera; paleoceanography; biological and chemical proxies; paleoproductivity; sea-level changes; astronomical calibration; climate and sea level changes; mud mounds; geochemistry; Pleistocene

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
The study of past climate and sea level-changes in sensible areas is presently essential to understand how far the environment was changed and how far the response of the environment itself would go. Carbonate sediments and mud mounds often encode a particularly sensitive record of these changes. This information can be “decoded” using marine microfossils, such as foraminifera, which generally produce calcareous shells in chemical equilibrium with the sea-water. This project proposes to investigate the passage from the Late Pleistocene Marine Isotope Stage 6 to 5 interval and the paleoceanographic factors triggering the development of mud mounds in the Atlantic Ocean. We plan to use the response of benthic and planktonic foraminifera to sea-level and climatic changes, nutrient availability and variations in ocean chemistry to compare and calibrate biological and chemical proxies (e.g., microfossils assemblage composition and abundance, oxygen and carbon isotopes, Mg/Ca, Cd/Ca, and Zn/Ca records of foraminiferal shells and phosphorus in sediments) and to reconstruct a multiproxy paleoceanographic scenario.The interval of the transition from MIS6 to MIS5 is chosen because it represents the passage from the glacial to the interglacial time closest to the present. The area selected for this study is the Pen Duick Escarpment off shore Morocco, where recent oceanographic cruises have revealed the presence of mud mounds, which are rooted and/or surrounded by deposits encoding exceptional records of Pleistocene environmental changes.To implement this project we have already assured the PhD student Stephan Margreth a berth on the next cruise that will take place in the area in Spring 2008 (MD MYCROSYSTEM cruise). This oceanographic mission planned in the framework of the ESF Project Eurodiversity will recover new cores spanning the target interval.An important part of this project will also be the correlation of the glacial MIS6 to interglacial MIS5 transition in two settings: the Atlantic Ocean and the Australian margin which was the target area of the NSF Project 200021/103482. This correlation will provide an overview of this crucial time in terms of climate dynamic in a more global perspective.The study of the recovered cores will provide the framework to achieve our goals that are:To investigate Late Pleistocene sediments adjacent to the Atlantic mounds and reconstruct the glacial-interglacial dynamics of the passage from MIS6 to MIS5.To relate paleoceanogaphic changes occurring in the basin during the MIS6 - MIS5 interval to Atlantic mud mounds structures.To compare the paleoceanographic record from the MIS6-MIS5 transition from the Australian margin ODP Holes 1198A and 1127B (studied in NSF Project 200021/103482) with the record obtained for the Atlantic, and identify the global and local factors determining similarities and differences between them.To highlight differences and similarities, if any, between Atlantic and Australian mounds.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
153125 Faunal assemblages from active, declining and buried cold-water coral ecosystems. 01.04.2014 Project funding
131829 Foraminifera from cold-water coral ecosystems: The Mediterranean connections 01.04.2011 Project funding
126367 The Mediterranean Connections 01.11.2009 Project funding
131829 Foraminifera from cold-water coral ecosystems: The Mediterranean connections 01.04.2011 Project funding
103482 Foraminifera as paleoenvironmental tracers 01.10.2004 Project funding