, Volume 28, Issue 5-6, pp 359-368
Date: 09 Jul 2008

Experimentally determined Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios in juvenile bivalve calcite for Mytilus edulis : implications for paleotemperature reconstructions

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To further evaluate the potential use of Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios as a paleothermometer in the shell carbonate of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis, we grew juvenile mussels (∼15 mm shell height; <2 years old) collected from Maine, USA, in controlled environments for 4 months. The four-by-three factorial design consisted of four circulating temperature baths (7, 11, 15 and 19°C), and three salinity ranges (23, 28, and 32). During the experiment, water Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca molar ratios were monitored weekly, and showed little variation across all salinity and temperature ranges. Data from sampled shells including all salinity treatments yielded relatively poor relationships between shell elemental chemistry and water temperatures. However, if only the low salinity treatment data (23) are used, the relationships between shell elemental chemistry and water temperature improve moderately. Based on the data presented here, it may be possible to use Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios from the shell carbonate of juvenile M. edulis to reconstruct paleotemperatures in estuarine settings (salinity below 24) with a corresponding RMSE (root mean squared error; 95% confidence interval) of ±2.4°C and ±2.8°C, respectively. In order for this methodology to be statistically meaningful, water temperature changes must be rather large, as the errors associated with using Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios from the shell material of M. edulis are substantial. Further work is required to determine if the findings presented here can be duplicated, and if the potential salinity effect is pervasive.