Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The deep-sea Hawaiian gold coral Kulamanamana haumeaae (previously known as Gerardia sp.) is an extraordinarily long-lived species, reaching ages of thousands of years.  These proteinaceous  "corals," secrete an endoskeleton of diagenetically-resistant growth layers synthesized from their primary food source, recently exported sinking particles. Thus, these "corals" act as bio-archives akin to living sediment traps, providing unique geochemical time-series at annual to decadal-scale resolution over millenial time scales. Compound-specific stable isotope analysis of these "corals" is being used to reconstruct past changes in NPSG biogeochemical cycling, phytoplankton community dynamics, and export production as a function of decadal to century scale climate change. (NOAA/HURL)

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