Phosphorus in Cold-Water Corals as a Proxy for Seawater Nutrient Chemistry

P. Montagna, Malcolm Mcculloch, M. Taviani, C. Mazzoli, B. Vendrell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    76 Citations (Web of Science)


    Phosphorus is a key macronutrient being strongly enriched in the deep ocean as a result of continuous export and remineralization of biomass from primary production. We show that phosphorus incorporated within the skeletons of the cosmopolitan cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus is directly proportional to the ambient seawater phosphorus concentration and thus may serve as a paleo-oceanographic proxy for variations in ocean productivity as well as changes in the residence times and sources of deep-water masses. The application of this tool to fossil specimens from the Mediterranean reveals phosphorus-enriched bottom waters at the end of the Younger Dryas period.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1788-1791
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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