What’s Hiding Behind Ontogenetic δ13C Variations in Mollusk Shells? New Insights from the Great Scallop (Pecten maximus)

Abstract

Mollusk shells contain geochemical information about environmental conditions that prevailed at the time of formation. We investigated ontogenetic and seasonal variations of δ13C in calcitic shells of Pecten maximus. Ontogenetic variations of δ13Cshell in three large specimens collected in Norway, France, and Spain exhibited a similar linear decrease with increasing shell height. We removed this linear drift (detrending). These three residual time series displayed variations that could be linked to environmental fluctuations. To check it, we reanalyzed the isotopic datasets of Lorrain et al. (Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 275:47–61, 2002, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 68:3509–3519, 2004), who worked on three scallops harvested in 2000 in the bay of Brest (France), a well-monitored ecosystem. Lowest values of δ13Cshell detrended were recorded in all shells in late spring–early summer, most likely reflecting corresponding variations in food availability. Our results indicate that ontogenetic and seasonal variations of δ13Cshell cannot be used as a proxy for past δ13CDIC variations but should be considered as promising tools for ecophysiological studies.

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Acknowledgments

Laurent Chauvaud gratefully acknowledges the EU program “Training and mobility Researchers” (Large Scale Facilities and “Marie Curie” research training grants) for the award of a postdoctoral fellowship. We are grateful to Robert B. Dunbar and David A. Mucciarone (Stanford University, CA, USA) for isotopic analyses of P. maximus shells and to Jacques Guillou for providing the SOMLIT data. Special thanks are due to Nolwenn Coïc for her help with the figures. This manuscript has benefited from helpful comments by Anthony Robson. This study was partly supported by the EU program “Marie Curie” and the French program ANR-Blanc (Agence Nationale de la Recherche—CHIVAS project).

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Chauvaud, L., Thébault, J., Clavier, J. et al. What’s Hiding Behind Ontogenetic δ13C Variations in Mollusk Shells? New Insights from the Great Scallop (Pecten maximus). Estuaries and Coasts 34, 211–220 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-010-9267-4

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Keywords

  • Scallop shells
  • Carbon isotopes
  • Phytoplankton
  • Ontogeny
  • Proxy