Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

A coral Sr/Ca calibration and replication study of two massive corals from the Gulf of Mexico

January 1, 2011

This study examined the variations in the ratio of strontium-to-calcium (Sr/Ca) for two Atlantic corals (Montastraea faveolata and Siderastrea siderea) from the Dry Tortugas National Park (centered on 24.7°N, 82.8°W) in the Gulf of Mexico. Cores from coral colonies in close proximity (10s of meters) and with the same environmental conditions (i.e., depth and water chemistry) were micro-sampled with approximately monthly resolution and the resulting Sr/Ca variations were calibrated with local sea surface temperature (SST) records. Replication tests for coral Sr/Ca variations found high agreement between intra-colony variations and between individual colonies of S. siderea (a single M. faveolata colony was sampled). Regression analysis of monthly variations in coral Sr/Ca and local SST revealed significant correlation on monthly and inter-annual timescales. Verification of the calibration on different timescales found coral Sr/Ca–SST reconstructions in S. siderea were more accurate than those from M. faveolata, especially on inter-annual timescales. Sr/Ca–SST calibration equations for the two species are significantly different (cf., Sr/Ca = -0.042 SST + 10.070, S. siderea; Sr/Ca = -0.027 SST + 9.893, M. faveolata). Mean linear extension for M. faveolata is approximately twice that of S. siderea (4.63, 4.31, and 8.31 mm year−1, A1, F1, and B3, respectively); however, seasonal Sr/Ca variability in M. faveolata is less than S. siderea (0.323, 0.353, and 0.254 mmol mol−1, A1, F1, and B3, respectively). The reduced slope for M. faveolata is attributed to physical sampling issues associated with complex time-skeletal structure of M. faveolata, i.e., a sampling effect, and not a growth effect since the faster growing M. faveolata has the reduced Sr/Ca variability.

Publication Year 2011
Title A coral Sr/Ca calibration and replication study of two massive corals from the Gulf of Mexico
DOI 10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.05.005
Authors Kristine L. DeLong, Jennifer A. Flannery, Christopher R. Maupin, Richard Z. Poore, Terrence M. Quinn
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Index ID 70036442
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center