Geochemical ratios in coral reef skeletons could be used as proxies to reconstruct past climatological and environmental records in data-poor regions. Using a 103-year data set (1902 to 2005), the annual variations in Ba/Ca and Mn/Ca ratios of Porites lutea skeletons at an eastern offshore area of Hainan Island (19°12´28.4´´N, 110°37´38.8´´E) were analyzed using inductively coupled plasma-optic emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). The analysis results showed that Ba/Ca ratios varied from a minimum of 3.120 μmol mol−1 in 1903 to a maximum of 10.064 μmol mol−1 in 1944, with an average of 5.256 μmol mol−1. Mn/Ca ratios varied from 0.206 to 5.708 μmol mol−1 with an annual average of 1.234 μmol mol−1, with peak values in 2001, 1964 and 1932, that correlated with strong rainfall events caused by typhoons. Variation in Ba/Ca and Mn/Ca ratios were compared with available river discharge and precipitation records, providing insight into past climatological events. Human activities and their indirect effects could impact the strength of the relationship between Ba/Ca and Mn/Ca ratios and observed precipitation and terrestrial input in the future.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Bacon, M. P., and Edmond, J. M., 1972. Barium at Geosecs III in the southwest Pacific. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 16 (16): 66–74.
Cardinal, D., Hamelin, B., Bard, E., and Pätzold, J., 2001. Sr/Ca, U/Ca and δ 18O records in recent massive corals from Bermuda: Relationships with sea surface temperature. Chemical Geology, 176 (1-4): 213–233.
Carilli, J. E., Prouty, N. G., Hughen, K. A., and Norris, R. D., 2009. Century-scale records of land-based activities recorded in Mesoamericancoral cores. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 58 (12): 1835–1842.
Chen, J. M., Zhou, Y. T., Liu, Y., Liu, G. J., Peng, Z. C., Nie, B. F., and Chen, T. G., 2005. Annual variability of heavy metal contents in the Porites lutea coral from the Longwan Bay. Marine Geology & Quaternary Geology, 25 (1): 11–18 (in Chinese with English abstract).
Chen, M. H., Gao, S., Zou, X. Q., and Zhu, D. K., 2002. Preliminary study on seabed mobility during low river discharge periods, Boao Harbour, Hainan Island. Marine Science Bulletin, 21 (6): 39–46 (in Chinese with English abstract).
Chen, X. F., Wei, G. J., Deng, W. F., Liu, Y., Sun, Y. L., Zheng, T., and Xie, L. H., 2015. Decadal variations in concentrations on a coral reef: Evidence from a 159 year record of Mn, Cu, and V in a Porites coral from the northern South Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 120 (1): 405–416.
Coffey, M., Dehairs, F., Collette, O., Luther, G., Church, T., and Jickells, T., 1997. The behaviour of dissolved barium in estuaries. Estuarine, Coastal & Shelf Science, 45 (1): 113–121.
Delaney, M. L., Linn, L. J., and Druffel, E. R. M., 1993. Seasonal cycles of manganese and cadmium in coral from the Galapagos Islands. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 57 (2): 347–354.
Fallon, S. J., McCulloch, M. T., Woesik, R. V., and Sinclair, D. J., 1999. Corals at their latitudinal limits: laser ablation trace element systematics in Porites from Shirigai Bay, Japan. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 172 (3-4): 221–238.
Fallon, S. J., Mcculloch, M. T., and Alibert, C., 2003. Examining water temperature proxies in Porites corals from the Great Barrier Reef: A cross-shelf comparison. Coral Reefs, 22 (4): 389–404.
Gagan, M. K., Ayliffe, L. K., Beck, J. W., Cole, J. E., Druffel, E. R. M., Dunbar, R. B., and Schrag, D. P., 2000. New views of tropical paleoclimates from corals. Quaternary Science Reviews, 19 (1-5): 45–64.
Gao, J. H., Gao, S., Chen, P., Ge, C. D., and Zhu, D. K., 2002. Longshore sediment transport along the coast of Boao Harbour, Hainan Island. Marine Geology & Quaternary Geology, 22 (2): 41–48 (in Chinese with English abstract).
Hendy, E. J., Gagan, M. K., Alibert, C. A., McCulloch, M. T., Lough, J. M., and Isdale, P. J., 2002. Abrupt decrease in tropical Pacific sea surface salinity at end of Little Ice Age. Science, 295 (5559): 1511–1514.
Iijima, H., Kayanne, H., Morimoto, M., and Abe, O., 2005. Interannual sea surface salinity changes in the western Pacific from 1954 to 2000 based on coral isotope analysis. Geophysical Research Letters, 32 (4): 319–325.
Jiang, Q. W., Cao, Z. M., Wang, D. R., Li, Y. C., and Ni, J. Y., 2016. Growth characteristics of Porites lutea skelton in east sea area of Hainan Island, China and main affecting environmental factors. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 27 (3): 953–962 (in Chinese with English abstract).
Lea, D. W., Shen, G. T., and Boyle, E. A., 1989. Coralline barium records temporal variability in Equatorial Pacific upwelling. Nature, 340 (6232): 373–376.
Lewis, S. E., Shields, G. A., Kamber, B. S., and Lough, J. M., 2007. A multi-trace element coral record of land-use changes in the Burdekin River catchment, NE Australia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 246 (2-4): 471–487.
Linn, L. J., Delaney, M. L., and Druffel, E. R. M., 1990. Trace metals in contemporary and seventeenth-century Galapagos coral: Records of seasonal and annual variations. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 54 (2): 387–394.
Liu, Y., Peng, Z. C., Cheng, J. M., Sun, T., Nie, B. F., and Chen, T. G., 2006. The relationship between Sr/Ca values of Porites coral and SST values in Eastern Hainan Island at the north of South China Sea and its influence factors. Quaternary Sciences, 26 (3): 470–476 (in Chinese with English abstract).
Liu, Y., Peng, Z. C., Shen, C. C., Zhou, R. J., Song, S. H., Shi, Z. G., Chen, T. G., Wei, G. J., and DeLong, K. L., 2013. Recent 121-year variability of western boundary upwelling in the northern South China Sea. Geophysical Research Letters, 40 (12): 3180–3183.
McCulloch, M., Fallon, S., Wyndham, T., Hendy, E., Lough, J., and Barnes, D., 2003. Coral record of increased sediment flux to the inner Great Barrier Reef since European settlement. Nature, 421 (6924): 727–730.
Montagna, P., McCulloch, M., Taviani, M., Remia, A., and Rouse, G., 2005. High-resolution trace and minor element compositions in deep-water scleractinian corals (Desmophyllum dianthus) from the Mediterranean Sea and the Great Australian Bight. Cold-Water Corals and Ecosystems, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 1109–1126.
Moyer, R. P., Grottoli, A. G., and Olesik, J. W., 2012. A multiproxy record of terrestrial inputs to the coastal ocean using minor and trace elements (Ba/Ca, Mn/Ca, Y/Ca) and carbon isotopes (δ 13C, Δ 14C) in a nearshore coral from Puerto Rico. Paleoceanography, 27 (27): 437–444.
Prouty, N. G., Field, M. E., Stock, J. D., Jupiter, S. D., and McCulloch, M., 2010. Coral Ba/Ca records of sediment input to the fringing reef of the southshore of Moloka’i, Hawai’i over the last several decades. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 60 (60): 1822–1835.
Reuer, M. K., Boyle, E. A., and Cole, J. E., 2003. A mid-twentieth century reduction in tropical upwelling inferred from coralline trace element proxies. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 210 (3): 437–452.
Saenger, C., Cohen, A. L., Oppo, D. W., Halley, R. B., and Carilli, J. E., 2009. Surface temperature trends and variability in the low-latitude North Atlantic since 1552. Nature Geoscience, 2 (7): 492–495.
Shen, G. T., and Boyle, E. A., 1987. Lead in corals: Reconstruction of historical industrial fluxes to the surface ocean. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 82 (3-4): 289–304.
Shen, G. T., and Boyle, E. A., 1988. Determination of lead, cadmium, and other trace metals in annually-banded corals. Chemical Geology, 67 (1): 47–62.
Shen, G. T., and Sanford, C. L., 1990. Trace element indicators of climate variability in reef-building corals. Elsevier Oceanography, 52: 255–283.
Shen, G. T., Campbell, T. M., Dunbar, R. B., Wellington, G. M., Colgan, M. W., and Glynn, P. W., 1991. Paleochemistry of manganese in corals from the Galapagos Islands. Coral Reefs, 10 (2): 91–100.
Shen, G. T., Cole, J. E., Lea, D. W., Linn, L. J., McConnaughey, T. A., and Fairbanks, R. G., 1992. Surface ocean variability at Galapagos from 1936-1982: Calibration of geochemical tracers in corals. Paleoceanography, 7 (5): 563–588.
Shen, G. T., Linn, L. J., Campbell, T. M., Cole, J. E., and Fairbanks, R. G., 1992. A chemical indicator of trade wind reversal in corals from the Western Tropical Pacific. Journal of Geophysical Research Oceans, 97 (C8): 12689–12697.
Sinclair, D. J., and McCulloch, M. T., 2004. Corals record low mobile barium concentrations in the Burdekin River during the 1974 flood: Evidence for limited Ba supply to rivers? Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 214 (1): 155–174.
Sinclair, D. J., 2005. Non-river flood barium signals in the skeletons of corals from coastal Queensland, Australia. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 237 (3-4): 354–369.
Su, J., and Pohlmann, T., 2009. Wind and topography influence on anupwelling system at the eastern Hainan coast. Journal of Geophysical Research, 114 (C6): 635–636.
Su, R. X., and Sun, D. H., 2003. The influencing factors of coral Porites in the northern part of the South China Sea. Acta Geographica Sinica, 58 (3): 442–451 (in Chinese with English abstract).
Sun, Y. L., Sun, M., Wei, G. J., Lee, T., Nie, B. F., and Yu, Z. W., 2004. Strontium contents of a Porites coral from Xisha Island, South China Sea: A proxy for sea-surface temperature of the 20th century. Paleoceanography, 19 (2): 157–175.
Wei, G. J., Li, X. H., Sun, M., and Nie, B. F., 2000. Seasonal ventilation of the Ba/Ca of the Porites corals from northern South China Sea: Patterns and their environmental implication. Geochimica, 29 (1): 67–72 (in Chinese with English abstract).
Wei, G. J., Yu, K. F., Li, X. H., Zhao, J. X., Sun, Y. L., Sun, M., and Nie, B. F., 2004. Coralline Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca thermometer for the Northern South China Sea: Calibration and primary application on high-resolution SST reconstructing. Quaternary Sciences, 24 (3): 325–331 (in Chinese with English abstract).
Wei, G. J., Deng, W. F., Yu, K. F., Li, X. H., Sun, W. D., and Zhao, J. X., 2007. Sea surface temperature records in the northern South China Sea from mid-Holocene coral Sr/Ca ratios. Paleoceanography, 22 (3): 2816–2820.
Yu, K. F., Chen, T. G., Lian, J. S., Wang, Z. D., and Liu, T. S., 2002. Annual changes of heavy metals in coral platygyra in Daya Bay and their marine environment implication. Quaternary Sciences, 22 (3): 230–235 (in Chinese with English abstract).
Yu, K. F., Zhao, J. X., Wei, G. J., Cheng, X. R., Chen, T. G., Felis, T., Wang, P. X., and Liu, T. S., 2005. δ 18O, Sr/Ca and Mg/Ca records of Porites lutea corals from Leizhou Peninsula, northern South China Sea, and their applicability as paleoclimatic indicators. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 218 (s1-2): 57–73.
Yu, K. F., 2012. Coral reefs in the South China Sea: Their response to and records on past environmental changes. Science China Earth Science, 55 (8): 1217–1229 (in Chinese with English abstract).
Zhang, J. Y., Yu, K. F., Cheng, X. R., and Shi, Q., 2007. Preliminary results of characteristics of density bands of Porites coral from Meiji Reef in Nansha area. Marine Geology & Quaternary Geology, 27 (4): 85–90 (in Chinese with English abstract).
We thank Gangjian Wei and Ying Liu of Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences for guidance and help of sample pretreatment and instrumental analysis. This work was supported by the National Ocean Welfare Research Funds of State Ocean Administration (No. 201105012).
About this article
Cite this article
Jiang, Q., Cao, Z., Wang, D. et al. Coral Ba/Ca and Mn/Ca ratios as proxies of precipitation and terrestrial input at the eastern offshore area of Hainan Island. J. Ocean Univ. China 16, 1072–1080 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11802-017-3265-0
- Porites lutea
- eastern offshore area of Hainan Island
- Ba/Ca and Mn/Ca ratios
- terrigenous input
- climate proxy records