Senior Theses 2006
Christopher R. Maupin (2006). Calibration of a Reproducible High-Resolution Sr/Ca Thermometer in the Atlantic Branching Coral, Acropora cervicornis
Faculty Advisor: David Hastings
Branching corals, such as Acropora, are relatively unexplored in their potential as paleoclimate proxies of tropical climate variability in the Atlantic Ocean. Acropora cervicornis persisted throughout much of the late Holocene in southern Florida, and A. cervicornis branches are a common sedimentary feature in the Florida Keys. This coral exhibits a growth rate that would allow high-resolution (subseasonal) reconstructions using mm-scale sampling techniques. This study calibrates the Sr/Ca - seawater temperature in A. cervicornis and demonstrates the reproducibility of the geochemical signal between two branches grown over the same months on Grecian Rocks in the Florida Keys during 2004. Mean Sr/Ca values (9.498 ± 0.010 and 9.516 ± 0.013 mmol/mol) for the branches sampled, as well as the respective variances, are statistically indistinguishable. The calibration sensitivity found here is low relative to other Acropora calibrations, possibly due to changing seawater chemistry during coral growth.