|DEEP SEA CORALS
Jess Adkins (Caltech)
Tina van de Flierdt (Lamont)
Rhian Waller (WHOI)
Chemical signatures preserved in the skeletons of scleractinian corals provide valuable climate archives. This technique has been most widely used in tropical shallow dwelling species. However, some species do not use algal symbionts and are able to live in cold or dark waters so we can also use them to reconstruct climate records from the deep ocean, or from high latitude locations. Compilation maps of the known locations of modern cold water coral distributions show that these corals live in all the ocean basins, and at depths as great as 5,000m.
Despite the unique nature of cold water corals as climate recorders, their potential has not been fully realized for reconstructions of either recent or distant past climate variability. This under-utilization comes, in part, from a lack of focused attempt to find and collect fossil corals.
- Uranium-series dating of deep sea corals
- Radiocarbon in deep sea corals
- Neodymium in deep sea corals
- Paleo-biogeography of deep sea corals
Supported by the National Science Foundation