A proteinaceous deep-sea coral’s view of biogeochemistry and
ecosystem change above

Thomas Guilderson

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and

University of California, Santa Cruz


The deep-sea coral Kulamanamana haumeaae, or “gold coral” is named for the hue of its skeleton when it is burnished. Photo by Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Pacific Forum—11:00 a.m.

Oceanic biological ecosystem variability is often linked to changes in sea surface temperature (SST) but SST is a reflection of dynamic processes which influence the stability of the water column, nutrient input, entrainment, and advection. Coherent and significant North Pacific spatio-temporal SST and sea level pressure (SLP) patterns at seasonal to inter-decadal timescales imply a close coupling of atmospheric and ocean dynamics, so it is not surprising that there are biological ecosystem responses. My research group has been coupling high resolution paleorecords derived from deep-sea proteinaceous coral together with new compound-specific amino acid isotope (CSI- AA) measurements to create reconstructions of both biogeochemical change (e.g., source of nitrogen) and basic plankton ecosystem shifts crossing the North Pacific. I will highlight recent work exploring the response of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre to large-scale climate forcing and delve into some of the outstanding questions associated with utilizing these deep-sea “living sediment traps.”

Print Version (PDF)

Next: March 1, Tom Weber


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