Ocean productivity in the Gulf of Cadiz over the last 50 kyr

Reconstructions of ocean primary productivity (PP) help to explain past and present biogeochemical cycles and climate changes in the oceans. We document PP variations over the last 50 kyr in a currently oligotrophic subtropical region, the Gulf of Cadiz. Data combine refined results from previous investigations on dinocyst assemblages, alkenones, and stable isotopes (18O, 13C) in planktonic (Globigerina bulloides) and endobenthic (Uvigerina mediterranea) foraminifera from cores MD04-2805 CQ and MD99-2339, with new isotopic measurements on epibenthic (Cibicides pachyderma–Cibicidoides wuellerstorfi) foraminifera and dinocyst-based estimates of PP using the new n = 1,968 modern database. We constrain PP variations and export production by integrating qualitative information from bio-indicators with dinocyst-based quantitative reconstructions such as PP and seasonal sea-surface temperature and information about remineralization from the benthic Δδ13C (difference between epi- and endo-benthic foraminiferal δ13C signatures). This study also includes new information on alkenone-based SST and total organic carbon which provides insights into the relationship between past regional hydrological activity and PP regime change. We show that PP, carbon export, and remineralization were generally high in the NE subtropical Atlantic Ocean during the last glacial period and that the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) had lower Δδ13C than the Heinrich Stadials with sustained high PP, likely allowing enhanced carbon sequestration. We link these PP periods to the dynamics of upwelling, active almost year-round during stadials, but restricted to spring-summer during interstadials and LGM, like today. During interstadials, nutrient advection through freshwater inputs during autumn–winter needs also to be considered to fully understand PP regimes.


dinocysts, stable isotopes, alkenones, last glacial maximum, Heinrich Stadials, primary productivity, remineralization

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Penaud A., Eynaud F., Etourneau J., Bonnin J., Vernal A., Zaragosi S., Kim J.‐H., Kang S., Gal J.‐K, Oliveira D., Waelbroeck C. (2022). Ocean productivity in the Gulf of Cadiz over the last 50 kyr. Paleoceanography And Paleoclimatology. 37 (2). e2021PA004316 (21p.). https://doi.org/10.1029/2021PA004316, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00747/85911/

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