Cross-Calibration of Daily Growth Increments, Stable Isotope Variation, and Temperature in the Gulf of California Bivalve Mollusk Chione cortezi: Implications for Paleoenvironmental Analysis

Goodwin, D.H., Flessa, K.W., Schoene, B.R., and Dettman, D.L.


We analyzed annual-oxygen isotope profiles from two live-collected specimens of Chione cortezi Carpenter in conjunction with daily growth increment width profiles and high-resolution temperature records from the same site in the northern Gulf of California. The daily growth-increment profiles serve to date the deposition of the d18O samples. We then compared the d18O values with high-resolution temperature records from the same site. Shell deposition began in late March or early April and ended in late November or early December. d18O-derived estimates of the maximum and minimum temperature thresholds of growth agree well with those obtained from the dated increment width profile. Shell deposition in these two specimens of C. cortezi from the northern Gulf began when temperature warmed above ~17°C and slowed or halted when temperature rose above ~31°C. The temporal resolution of stable isotope samples varies throughout the year. Samples with the coarsest resolution (>3 weeks) were taken from parts of the shell deposited near the minimum and maximum temperature thresholds of growth. Higher resolution samples have intermediate d18O values and most represent less than five days of growth. Calculated temperatures from the dated oxygen-isotope samples are similar to observed temperatures. Differences reflect the effects of daily temperature variation, tidal emergence, and enrichment in d18O of the water in which the clams grew. Stable oxygen-isotope samples used in conjunction with increment-width profiles can provide paleoenvironmental information at sub-weekly to sub-monthly resolution.



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