Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Montagna P., McCulloch M., Taviani M., Mazzoli C., Vendrell B. Phosphorus in cold-water corals as a proxy for seawater nutrient chemistry. In: Science, vol. 312 (5781) pp. 1788 - 1791. Amer Assoc Advancement Science, 2006.
Phosphorus is a key macronutrient being strongly enriched in the deep ocean as a result of continuous export and remineralization of biomass from primary production. We show that phosphorus incorporated within the skeletons of the cosmopolitan cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus is directly proportional to the ambient seawater phosphorus concentration and thus may serve as a paleo-oceanographic proxy for variations in ocean productivity as well as changes in the residence times and sources of deep-water masses. The application of this tool to fossil specimens from the Mediterranean reveals phosphorus-enriched bottom waters at the end of the Younger Dryas period.
DOI: 10.1126/science.1125781
Subject marine-sediments

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