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Vital effect on stable-isotope composition seen in foraminifera and coral skeletons


Stable-isotope composition of carbonate precipitated by hermatypic corals and associated benthonic foraminifera is strongly influenced by photosynthesis of symbiotic algae. In situ 14C and 45Ca uptake experiments show that when photosynthesis increases, more light metabolic CO2 is incorporated in the skeleton. This mechanism explains the non-equilibrium isotopic compositions previously reported for these organisms (as well as for planktonic foraminifera), and have important implications for palaeoenvironmental determinations based on stable-isotope analysis.

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Erez, J. Vital effect on stable-isotope composition seen in foraminifera and coral skeletons. Nature 273, 199–202 (1978).

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