Vertical distribution of planktic foraminifera through an oxygen minimum zone: how assemblages and test morphology reflect oxygen concentrations.

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Date: Feb. 10, 2021
From: Biogeosciences(Vol. 18, Issue 3)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 241 words

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Abstract :

Oxygen-depleted regions of the global ocean are rapidly expanding, with important implications for global biogeochemical cycles. However, our ability to make projections about the future of oxygen in the ocean is limited by a lack of empirical data with which to test and constrain the behavior of global climatic and oceanographic models. We use depth-stratified plankton tows to demonstrate that some species of planktic foraminifera are adapted to life in the heart of the pelagic oxygen minimum zone (OMZ). In particular, we identify two species, Globorotaloides hexagonus and Hastigerina parapelagica, living within the eastern tropical North Pacific OMZ. The tests of the former are preserved in marine sediments and could be used to trace the extent and intensity of low-oxygen pelagic habitats in the fossil record. Additional morphometric analyses of G. hexagonus show that tests found in the lowest oxygen environments are larger, more porous, less dense, and have more chambers in the final whorl. The association of this species with the OMZ and the apparent plasticity of its test in response to ambient oxygenation invites the use of G. hexagonus tests in sediment cores as potential proxies for both the presence and intensity of overlying OMZs.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A651394604