Bahr, A et al. (2013): Comparison of Ba/Ca and d18OWATER as freshwater proxies: a multi-species core-top study on planktonic foraminifera from the vicinity of the Orinoco River mouth. doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.820222, Supplement to:Bahr, André; Schönfeld, Joachim; Hoffmann, Julia; Voigt, Silke; Aurahs, Ralf; Kucera, Michal; Flögel, Sascha; Jentzen, Anna; Gerdes, Axel (2013): Comparison of Ba/Ca and d18Owater as freshwater proxies: A multi-species core-top study on planktonic foraminifera from the vicinity of the Orinoco River mouth. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 383, 45-57, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2013.09.036
Past river run-off is an important measure for the continental hydrological cycle and the as-sessment of freshwater input into the ocean. However, paleosalinity reconstructions applying different proxies in parallel often show offsets between the respective methods. Here, we compare the established foraminiferal Ba/Ca and d18OWATER salinity proxies for their capability to record the highly seasonal Orinoco freshwater plume in the eastern Caribbean. For this purpose we obtained a data set comprising Ba/Ca and d18OWATER determined on multiple spe-cies of planktonic foraminifera from core tops distributed around the Orinoco river mouth.
Our findings indicate that interpretations based on either proxy could lead to different conclu-sions. In particular, Ba/Ca and d18OWATER diverge in their spatial distribution due to different governing factors. Apparently, the Orinoco freshwater plume is best tracked by Ba/Ca ratios of G. ruber (pink and sensu lato morphotypes), while d18OWATER based on the same species is more related to the local precipitation-evaporation balance overprinting the riverine freshwater contribution. Other shallow dwelling species (G. sacculifer, O. universa) show a muted response to the freshwater discharge, most likely due to their ecological and habitat prefer-ences. Extremely high Ba/Ca ratios recorded by G. ruber are attributed to Ba2+-desorption from suspended matter derived from the Orinoco.
Samples taken most proximal to the freshwater source do not show pronounced Ba/Ca or d18OWATER anomalies. Here, the suspension loaded freshwater lid developing during maximum discharge suppresses foraminiferal populations. Both proxies are therefore biased towards dry season conditions at these sites, when surface salinity is only minimally reduced.