Monsoonal forcing controlled cold water coral growth off south-eastern Brazil during the past 160 kyrs

Bahr, André, Doubrawa, Monika, Titschack, Jürgen, Austermann, Gregor, Nürnberg, Dirk, Albuquerque, Ana Luiza, Friedrich, Oliver and Raddatz, Jacek (2020) Monsoonal forcing controlled cold water coral growth off south-eastern Brazil during the past 160 kyrs Biogeosciences Discussions . DOI 10.5194/bg-2020-206.

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Cold-water corals (CWC) constitute important deep-water ecosystems that are increasingly under environmental pressure due to ocean acidification and global warming. The sensitivity of these deep-water ecosystems to environmental change is demonstrated by abundant paleo-records drilled through CWC mounds that reveal a characteristic alteration between rapid formation and dormant or erosive phases. Previous studies have identified several parameters such as food supply, oxygenation, and carbon saturation state of bottom water as central for driving or inhibiting CWC growth, yet there is still a large uncertainty about the relative importance of the different environmental parameters. To advance this debate we have performed a multi-proxy study on a sediment core retrieved from the 25 m high Bowie Mound, located in 866 m water depth on the continental slope off south-eastern Brazil, a structure built up mainly by the CWC Solenosmilia variabilis. Our results indicate a multi-factorial control on CWC growth and mound formation at Bowie Mound during the past ~160 kyrs, which reveals distinct formation pulses during glacial high northern latitude cold events (Heinrich Stadials, HS) largely associated with anomalous continental wet periods. The ensuing enhanced run-off elevated the terrigenous nutrient and organic matter supply to the continental margin, and might have boosted marine productivity. The dispersal of food particles towards the CWC colonies during HS was facilitated by the highly dynamic hydraulic conditions along the continental slope that prevailed throughout glacial periods. These conditions caused the emplacement of a pronounced nepheloid layer above Bowie Mound aiding the concentration and along-slope dispersal of organic matter. Our study thus demonstrates a yet unrecognized impact of continental climate variability on a highly vulnerable deep-marine ecosystem.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Cold-water corals off Brazil, Monsoonal forcing on cold water coral growth, Cold-water coral formation pulses during Heinrich Stadials
Research affiliation: MARUM
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
Refereed: No
DOI etc.: 10.5194/bg-2020-206
ISSN: 1810-6285
Projects: The Ocean Floor - Earth's Uncharted Interface
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2020 07:09
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2020 08:06

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