Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Barium enrichment in the non-spinose planktic foraminifer, Globorotalia truncatulinoides

July 23, 2022

Observations of elevated barium-to-calcium ratios (Ba/Ca) in Globorotalia truncatulinoides have been attributed to contaminant phases, deep calcification depth and diagenetic processes. Here we investigate intra- and inter-test Ba/Ca variability in the non-spinose planktic foraminifer, G. truncatulinoides, from a sediment trap time series in the northern Gulf of Mexico to gain insights into the environmental influences on barium enrichment in this and other non-spinose species. We use laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) to differentiate between the elemental composition of the crust and lamellar calcite in non-encrusted (<150 m calcification depth) and encrusted (>150 m calcification depth) specimens of G. truncatulinoides. We find that the Ba/Ca ratio in lamellar calcite is between two and three orders of magnitude higher (10–280 μmol/mol) than that of the crust (0–3 μmol/mol). We include seasonal water column profiles of the Ba/Ca ratio in the northern Gulf of Mexico and determine that the vertical gradient in seawater barium concentration cannot account for the intra-test Ba/Ca variations in G. truncatulinoides. We find the Ba/Ca ratio of the crust to be within the range observed in co-occurring spinose species of foraminifera (pink and white chromotypes of Globigerinoides ruber, and Orbulina universa) while the range of Ba/Ca in lamellar calcite is consistent with co-occurring non-spinose foraminifera (Pulleniatina obliquiloculata, Globorotalia menardii, G. tumida, and Neogloboquadrina dutertrei). Our data are consistent with the hypothesis that G. truncatulinoides calcifies in a marine snow aggregate microenvironment that is enriched in barium relative to ambient seawater. We suggest that G. truncatulinoides crust is formed after the rhizopodia retract and the foraminifer detaches from its marine snow substrate.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Barium enrichment in the non-spinose planktic foraminifer, Globorotalia truncatulinoides
DOI 10.1016/j.gca.2022.07.006
Authors Julie N. Richey, Jennifer S. Fehrenbacher, Caitlin E. Reynolds, Catherine Z. Davis, Howard J. Spero
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Series Number
Index ID 70234143
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center