• Growth-increment characteristics and isotopic (δ18O) temperature record of sub-thermocline Aequipecten opercularis (Mollusca:Bivalvia): evidence from modern Adriatic forms and an application to early Pliocene examples from eastern England.

      Johnson, Andrew; Valentine, Annemarie; Schöne, Bernd; Leng, Melanie; Sloane, Hilary; Janekovic, Ivica; University of Derby; Nottingham Trent University; University of Mainz, 55128 Mainz, Germany; National Environmental Isotope Facility, British Geological Survey, Keyworth; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-09-02)
      The shell δ18O of young modern Aequipecten opercularis from the southern North Sea provides an essentially faithful record of seasonal variation in seafloor temperature. In this well-mixed setting, A. opercularis shell δ18O also serves as a proxy for seasonal variation in surface temperature. Individuals from less agitated (e.g. deeper) settings in a warm climate would not be expected to record the full seasonal range in surface temperature because of thermal stratification in summer. Such circumstances have been invoked to explain cool isotopic summer temperatures from early Pliocene A. opercularis of eastern England. Support for a sub-thermocline setting derives from high-amplitude variation in microgrowth-increment size, which resembles the pattern in sub-thermocline A. opercularis from the southern Mediterranean Sea. Here, we present isotope and increment profiles from further sub-thermocline individuals, live-collected from a location in the Adriatic Sea for which we provide modelled values of expected shell δ18O. We also present data from supra-thermocline shells from the English Channel and French Mediterranean coast. The great majority of sub-thermocline A. opercularis show high-amplitude variation in increment size, and winter and summer δ18O values are generally quite close to expectation. However, the relatively warm summer conditions of 2015 are not recorded, in most cases due to a break in growth, perhaps caused by hypoxia. The supra-thermocline shells show subdued increment variation and yield isotopic winter and summer temperatures quite close to the local directly measured values. A. opercularis shells therefore provide a fairly good isotopic record of ambient temperature (if not always of relatively warm summer conditions below the thermocline) and their hydrographic setting can be determined from increment data. Early Pliocene examples from eastern England can be interpreted as having lived in a setting below the thermocline, with a higher seasonal range in surface temperature than now in the adjacent southern North Sea.