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Helena Filipsson, foto Erik Thor

Helena Filipsson


Helena Filipsson, foto Erik Thor

Benthic Foraminiferal Mn/Ca as Low-Oxygen Proxy in Fjord Sediments


  • Inda Brinkmann
  • Christine Barras
  • Tom Jilbert
  • K. Mareike Paul
  • Andrea Somogyi
  • Sha Ni
  • Magali Schweizer
  • Joan M. Bernhard
  • Helena L. Filipsson

Summary, in English

Fjord systems are typically affected by low-oxygen conditions, which are increasing in extent and severity, forced by ongoing global changes. Fjord sedimentary records can provide high temporal resolution archives to aid our understanding of the underlying mechanisms and impacts of current deoxygenation. However, such archives can only be interpreted with well-calibrated proxies. Bottom-water oxygen conditions determine redox regime and availability of redox-sensitive trace elements such as manganese, which in turn may be recorded by manganese-to-calcium ratios (Mn/Ca) in biogenic calcium carbonates (e.g., benthic foraminifera tests). However, biological influences on Mn incorporation (e.g., species-specific Mn fractionation, ontogeny, living and calcification depths) are still poorly constrained. We analyzed Mn/Ca of living benthic foraminifera (Bulimina marginata, Nonionellina labradorica), sampled at low- to well-oxygenated conditions over a seasonal gradient in Gullmar Fjord, Swedish West coast (71–217 μmol/L oxygen (O2)), by laser-ablation ICP-MS. High pore-water Mn availability in the fjord supported Mn incorporation by foraminifera. B. marginata recorded contrasting Mn redox regimes sensitively and demonstrated potential as proxy for low-oxygen conditions. Synchrotron-based scanning X-ray fluorescence nanoimaging of Mn distributions across B. marginata tests displayed Mn/Ca shifts by chambers, reflecting bottom-water oxygenation history and/or ontogeny-driven life strategy preferences. In contrast, Mn/Ca signals of N. labradorica were extremely high and insensitive to environmental variability. We explore potential biologically controlled mechanisms that could potentially explain this species-specific response. Our data suggest that with the selection of sensitive candidate species, the Mn/Ca proxy has potential to be further developed for quantitative oxygen reconstructions in the low-oxygen range.


  • Kvartärgeologi
  • MERGE: ModElling the Regional and Global Earth system
  • Centrum för miljö- och klimatvetenskap (CEC)
  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate
  • Lunds universitet






Global Biogeochemical Cycles






Artikel i tidskrift


American Geophysical Union (AGU)


  • Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
  • Climate Research
  • Environmental Sciences


  • benthic foraminifera
  • coastal environments
  • foraminiferal Mn/Ca
  • hypoxia
  • proxy development




  • Tracing past bottom-water oxygenation in the sea: a microanalytical approach to improve calcium carbonate-based proxies
  • Tracing coastal bottom-water oxygenation: a microanalytical approach to improve calcium carbonate based proxies
  • Tracing past bottom water oxygenation in the sea: a microanalytical approach to improve calcium carbonate based proxies (TOPICaL)


  • ISSN: 0886-6236