Planktonic foraminifera organic carbon isotopes as archives of upper ocean carbon cycling

Babette A. A. Hoogakker, Caroline Anderson, Tommaso Paoloni, Andrew Stott, Helen Grant, Patrick Keenan, Claire Mahaffey, Sabena Blackbird, Erin L. McClymont, Ros Rickaby, Alex Poulton, Victoria L. Peck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


The carbon cycle is a key regulator of Earth’s climate. On geological time-scales, our understanding of particulate organic matter (POM), an important upper ocean carbon pool that fuels ecosystems and an integrated part of the carbon cycle, is limited. Here we investigate the relationship of planktonic foraminifera-bound organic carbon isotopes (δ13Corg-pforam) with δ13Corg of POM (δ13Corg-POM). We compare δ13Corg-pforam of several planktonic foraminifera species from plankton nets and recent sediment cores with δ13Corg-POM on a N-S Atlantic Ocean transect. Our results indicate that δ13Corg-pforam of planktonic foraminifera are remarkably similar to δ13Corg-POM. Application of our method on a glacial sample furthermore provided a δ13Corg-pforam value similar to glacial δ13Corg-POM predictions. We thus show that δ13Corg-pforam is a promising proxy to reconstruct environmental conditions in the upper ocean, providing a route to isolate past variations in δ13Corg-POM and better understanding of the evolution of the carbon cycle over geological time-scales.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4841
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2022


  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Carbon/analysis
  • Carbon Cycle
  • Carbon Isotopes/analysis
  • Ecosystem
  • Foraminifera
  • Particulate Matter
  • Plankton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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