This study investigates the role of historical climate variability on coral health using corals from five sites in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Proxies used include geochemistry (Sr/Ca, δ18O, and δ13C), which reconstructs ocean temperatures salinity, and physiological processes; luminescence, which reconstructs river flow; and coral growth metrics (extension, density, and calcification). The paper is available here.
Improving Coral Paleoclimate Reconstructions using Paired Geochemistry and Density Records: A Case Study from the Galápagos Islands
The Galapagos region lies at the “epicenter” of El Niño events, and paleoclimate records in this region are crucial for understanding eastern Pacific El Niño variability and its global impacts. Unfortunately, coral paleoclimate records are rare in the Galapagos Islands: 97% of corals in this region were killed during the 1982-83 El Niño, and those that remain show complex and variable growth. This study uses density to identify portions of the geochemical record that are affected by coral growth irregularities, and demonstrates how climate reconstructions can improve if growth-impacted geochemistry is excluded.
This project is currently in the works, so stay tuned!