Seasonal variations in the stable isotopic composition and the skeletal density pattern of the coral Porites lobata (Gulf of Eilat, Red Sea)

R. Klein*, J. Pätzold, G. Wefer, Y. Loya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The stable carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions of the massive coral Porites lobata collected from the Gulf of Eilat, Red Sea, in May 1987 were measured along the vertical growth axis. The isotopic compositions show annual periodicity. The variations along the isotopic profile, compared with the X-radiography, indicate that the high-density bands are enriched in18O and deposited during the season of lowest water temperature (winter). In contrast, the low-density bands are depleted in18O and deposited during the warmest seawater temperatures (summer). The stable carbon and the oxygen isotopic ratios are negatively correlated with a shift in phase. During the season of higher water temperatures and light intensity values (summer), the skeleton is depleted in18O and enriched in13C and vice versa for the winter time. The shift between the carbon and the oxygen isotopic curves reflects the shift between the seasonal light intensities and seasonal temperature variations in the shallow water. The oxygen isotope ratio was used to detect the seasonal variations in seawater temperatures. The coral aragonitic skeleton is depleted in18O compared to apparent equilibrium with ambient seawater. The disequilibria range from (ca.) -3.10‰ to -3.50‰ with an average value of 3.40‰. The isotope fractionation behavior during skeleton precipitation is discussed in light of the environmental variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-263
Number of pages5
JournalMarine Biology
Volume112
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1992

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