Significance of shallow-marine and non-marine algae stable isotope (δ18O) compositions over long periods: Example from the Palaeogene of the Paris Basin

Abstract : In this study, we test the potentiality of using dasycladales and charophytes, calcareous shallow-marine and non-marine algae respectively as palaeoclimatic recorders. These algae mineralize their carbonate during short periods in summer. Throughout the Palaeogene, we compare the δ18O variation of these two taxa to identify a possible common factor influencing their isotopic composition, i.e. temperatures variations, from a local environmental signal. We sampled and isotopically analyzed eight species of charophytes and seven species of dasycladales from 23 formations ranging from the Palaeocene to the Oligocene series of the Paris Basin. By comparing the δ18O of these two groups living in different environment with that of shallow-marine mollusks from a previous study, we show that temperature variations are the main factor influencing their δ18O compositions and that local environmental effects do not screen the global thermal signal. Maximum annual palaeotemperatures are calculated from the δ18O of the dasycladales and indicate by comparison with the data from mollusks previously analyzed that dasycladales species used probably mineralized their carbonate in equilibrium with sea-water. Dasycladales recorded the global climatic events already known for the Palaeogene, with high temperatures reached during the Early Eocene and Middle Eocene climatic optimums and relative cooling intervals during the Lutetian, the Priabonian and the Rupelian. Charophyte gyrogonites also recorded temperature variations in their δ18O compositions but reconstituting reliable temperature values in non-marine environments is not directly possible and requires constraining δ18O of local continental water using other proxies. These promising results show that carbonates mineralized from algae constitute a reliable support for palaeoclimatic information and should be more widely used in the fossil record.
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Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Elsevier, 2017, 485, pp.247-259. 〈10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.06.017〉
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Damien Huyghe, Laurent Emmanuel, Maurice Renard, Franck Lartaud, Patrick Génot, et al.. Significance of shallow-marine and non-marine algae stable isotope (δ18O) compositions over long periods: Example from the Palaeogene of the Paris Basin. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Elsevier, 2017, 485, pp.247-259. 〈10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.06.017〉. 〈hal-01557354〉

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