Benthic foraminifera as tracers of brine production in Storfjorden “sea ice factory”

Type Article
Date 2020
Language English
Author(s) Fossile Eleonore1, Nardelli Maria Pia1, Jouini Arbia1, Lansard Bruno2, Pusceddu Antonio3, Moccia Davide3, Michel Elisabeth2, Péron Olivier4, Howa Hélène1, Mojtahid Meryem1
Affiliation(s) 1 : LPG-BIAF UMR 6112, Univerité d’Angers, CNRS, UFR Sciences, 2 bd Lavoisier 49045, Angers Cedex 01, France
2 : LSCE, UMR 8212, IPSL-CEA-CNRS-UVSQ-Université Paris Saclay, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
3 : Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Cagliari, 09126 Cagliari, Italy
4 : SUBATECH, UMR 6457, CNRS-Université de Nantes, 4 rue A. Kastler, 44307 Nantes, France
Source Biogeosciences (1726-4189) (Copernicus GmbH), 2020 , Vol. 17 , N. 7 , P. 1933–1953
DOI 10.5194/bg-2019-405

The rapid response of benthic foraminifera to environmental factors (e.g., organic matter quality and quantity, salinity, pH) and their high fossilisation potential make them promising bio-indicators for the intensity and recurrence of brine formation in Arctic seas. Such approach, however, requires a thorough knowledge of their modern ecology in such extreme settings. To this aim, seven stations along a N–S transect across the Storfjorden (Svalbard archipelago) have been sampled using an interface multicorer. This fjord is an area of intense sea ice formation characterised by the production of Brine-enriched Shelf Waters (BSW) as a result of a recurrent latent-heat polynya. Living (Rose Bengal stained) foraminiferal assemblages were analysed together with geochemical and sedimentological parameters in the top five centimetres of the sediment. Three major biozones were distinguished: (i) the inner fjord dominated by typical glacier proximal calcareous species which opportunistically respond to fresh organic matter inputs; (ii) the deep basins and sill characterised by glacier distal agglutinated faunas. These latter are either dominant because of the mostly refractory nature of organic matter and/or the brine persistence that hampers the growth of calcareous species and/or causes their dissolution. (iii) The outer fjord characterised by typical North Atlantic species due to the intrusion of the North Atlantic water in the Storfjordrenna. The stressful conditions present in the deep basins and sill (i.e. acidic waters and low food quality) result in a high agglutinated/calcareous ratio (A / C). This supports the potential use of the A / C ratio as a proxy for brine persistence and overflow in Storfjorden.

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Fossile Eleonore, Nardelli Maria Pia, Jouini Arbia, Lansard Bruno, Pusceddu Antonio, Moccia Davide, Michel Elisabeth, Péron Olivier, Howa Hélène, Mojtahid Meryem (2020). Benthic foraminifera as tracers of brine production in Storfjorden “sea ice factory”. Biogeosciences, 17(7), 1933–1953. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :