Growth of north-east Atlantic cold-water coral reefs and mounds during the Holocene: A high resolution U-series and 14C chronology

Melanie Douarin, Mary Elliot, Stephen Noble, Daniel Sinclair, Lea-Anne Henry, David Long, Stephen Moreton, Murray Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigated the Holocene growth history of the Mingulay Reef Complex, a seascape of inshore cold-water coral reefs off western Scotland, using U-series and radiocarbon dating methods. Both chronologies revealed episodic occurrences of the reef framework-forming scleractinian coral Lophelia pertusa during the late Holocene. Downcore U-series dating revealed unprecedented reef growth rates of up to 12 mm a-1 with a mean rate of 3–4 mm a-1. Our study highlighted a persistent hiatus in coral occurrence from 1.4 ka to modern times despite present day conditions being conducive for coral growth. The growth history of the complex was punctuated at least twice by periods of reduced growth rates: 1.75–2.8 ka, 3.2–3.6 ka and to a lesser extent at 3.8–4 ka and at 4.2 ka. Timing of coral hiatuses and reduced reef growth rates at Mingulay were synchronous with those occurring across the wider northern European region, which suggests a close relationship between these ecosystems and large-scale shifts in palaeoenvironmental regimes associated with changes to the North Atlantic subpolar gyre.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176–187
Number of pages12
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume375
Early online date26 Jun 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013

Keywords

  • NE Atlantic
  • Holocene
  • Lophelia pertusa
  • cold-water coral reef

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