Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
Abstract (EDOC: 11373)
Due to its restricted connection with the Indian Ocean, the desert-enclosed Red Sea is extremely sensitive to global sea level changes and thus ideally suited for paleoceanographic studies of what occurred during the last glaciation. The understanding of its glacial history is, however, still limited. A serious obstacle to obtain satisfactory paleoecological information has been the rarity of microfossil proxy species caused by high salinities. Here, we present a continuous and well-dated calcareous nannoplankton record from the northern Red Sea, covering the interval from 60–14.5 ka BP. Our investigation shows that the composition of the calcareous nannoplankton community varied between ∼32 ka BP and 14.5 ka BP in response to rapid environmental changes which are closely correlated to climatic fluctuations described from the North Atlantic region. Heinrich events H3, H2 and H1 are dominated by Emiliania huxleyi. Gephyrocapsa oceanica and especially Gephyrocapsa ericsonii are abundant between H3–H2 and H2–H1. A less pronounced response of the calcareous nannoplankton to the high latitudinal climatic oscillations is documented prior to ∼32 ka BP, suggesting that a strong atmospheric coupling between the northern Red Sea and the North Atlantic realmwas established in the late Marine Isotope Stage 3. In contrast to the previously held view of a sea level related salinity increase as the major cause for changes of the plankton communities within the glacial Red Sea, we interpret the documented variations as being caused by local hydrographic changes under the atmospheric control from the extratropics. Temperature changes and especially variations of the water stratification appear to be critical selective factors for the calcareous nannoplankton composition.
(2008): Nannoplankton successions in the northern Red Sea during the last glaciation (60 to 14.5 ka BP): Reactions to climate change. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 270, 3-4, 271-279.