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Stable isotope profiles of skeletal carbonate validate annually-produced growth checks in the bryozoan Melicerita chathamensis from Snares Platform, New Zealand

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The bryozoan Melicerita chathamensis Uttley and Bullivant, 1972 produces colonies that exhibit visible growth segments defined by narrow growth checks. If these growth checks are annual, then colony age, and seawater variations among seasons and years can be quantified. The purpose of the present study was to use stable isotope profiling to evaluate whether the segments between growth checks represent annual temperature cycles in this species. We applied three independent methods to determine colony age of six colonies from 168 m depth on the Snares Platform located south of New Zealand. First, each colony was X-rayed to determine the location of the growth checks based on skeletal density. Second, branch width was measured for each zooid generation along the growth axis to locate the growth checks. Third, we measured stable C and O isotope values along the colony axis. Branch width patterns corresponded broadly with X-ray patterns, suggesting colony ages of 1.5–7.5 yrs (mean: 4.0 yrs). δ18O profiles suggested colony ages of 4.0–6.5 yrs (mean: 5.3 yrs). This species does precipitate its skeleton in isotopic equilibrium with seawater, such that annual growth checks correlate with cooler winter temperatures. A conceptual model is proposed for the annual growth cycle in this species. In the most complete colony, the δ 18 O-derived temperatures correlated with inter-annual variations related to the El NiƱo–Southern Oscillation Index.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Earth Sciences, Dickinson College, P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013-2896;, Email: [email protected] 2: Department of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, 6105 Fairchild Hall, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755 3: Department of Marine Science, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand 4: Department of Geology, Appalachian State University, 572 Rivers Street, Boone, North Carolina 28608 5: Department of Geological Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, 114 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E2, Canada

Publication date: 01 October 2018

This article was made available online on 04 April 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Stable isotope profiles of skeletal carbonate validate annually-produced growth checks in the bryozoan Melicerita chathamensis from Snares Platform, New Zealand".

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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