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Determination of sea surface temperatures using oxygen isotope ratios from Phorcus lineatus (Da Costa, 1778) in northern Spain: Implications for paleoclimate and archaeological studies

Abstract: Abstract: Changes in oxygen isotope ratios from shell carbonates are mainly dependent on sea surface temperature, which enables the estimation of temperatures during periods of shell growth and helps to determine the season of the year when the mollusk died. The marine topshell Phorcus lineatus (Da Costa, 1778) is commonly found in Holocene archaeological deposits of Atlantic Europe and is one of the most abundant subsistence resources utilized during the Mesolithic in northern Spain. Before applying isotopic techniques to ancient samples, calibration of the past isotopic data and its variability must be performed through the study of modern specimens to test their potential as paleoclimate proxy and their suitability for determining the collection season. Although previous studies performed in the region highlighted the existing relationship between sea surface temperatures and isotopic signatures, no systematic works have been done so far. In this paper, calibration of modern P. lineatus shells from northern Spain was carried out using d18O analysis. The results showed (1) the existence of a robust inverse correlation between instrumental temperatures (Tmeas) and d18Oshell (R2 > 0.9), accompanied by the lack of significant dependence from d18Owater variations (R2 = 0.06); (2) the existence of conditions of (or close to) isotopic equilibrium during the formation of the aragonite in the P. lineatus shells; and (3) that using mean annual d18Owater values, past temperatures could be calculated with a maximum uncertainty of ±3°C. Moreover, results suggested that P. lineatus generally grew without substantial slow/cessation throughout the year, reflecting the four annual seasons. Therefore, our study not only confirms the potential of oxygen isotope analysis on P. lineatus for paleoclimate reconstruction and archaeological studies highlighted in previous studies but also shows for the first time that the aragonite of those shells grew under conditions of isotopic equilibrium, opening new avenues for future research.

 Autoría: Gutiérrez-Zugasti I., García-Escárzaga A., Martín-Chivelet J., González-Morales M.,

 Fuente: The Holocene 2015, Vol. 25(6) 1002–1014

Editorial: Sage

 Año de publicación: 2015

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1177/0959683615574892

ISSN: 1477-0911,0959-6836

Proyecto español: HAR2010-22115-C02-01