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Lunar periodicity in the shell flux of some planktonic foraminifera in the Gulf of Mexico

Jonkers, Lukas ORCID:, Reynolds, C. E., Richey, J. and Hall, Ian Robert ORCID: 2015. Lunar periodicity in the shell flux of some planktonic foraminifera in the Gulf of Mexico. Biogeosciences Discussions 11 (12) , 17187. 10.5194/bgd-11-17187-2014

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Synchronised reproduction offers clear benefits to planktonic foraminifera – an important group of marine calcifiers – as it increases the chances of successful gamete fusion. Such synchrony requires tuning to an internal or external clock. Evidence exists for lunar reproductive cycles in some species, but its recognition in shell flux time series has proven difficult, raising questions about reproductive strategies. Using spectral analysis of a 6 year time series (mostly at weekly resolution) from the northern Gulf of Mexico we show that the shell flux of Globorotalia menardii, Globigerinella siphonifera, Orbulina universa, Globigerinoides sacculifer and in Globigerinoides ruber (both pink and white varieties) is characterised by lunar periodicity. The fluxes of Pulleniatina obliquiloculata, Neogloboquadrina dutertrei, Globigerinella calida, Globorotalia crassaformis and Globigerinita glutinata do not show significant spectral power at the lunar frequency. If present, lunar periodicity is superimposed on longer term/seasonal changes in the shell fluxes, but accounts for a significant part of the variance in the fluxes. The amplitude of the lunar cycle increases roughly proportional with the magnitude of the flux, demonstrating that most of the population is indeed affected by lunar-phased synchronisation. Phasing of peak fluxes appears species-specific, with G. menardii, O. universa and G. sacculifer showing most peaks around the full moon and G. ruber one week later. Contrastingly, peaks G. siphonifera occur dominantly around new moon. Very limited literature exists on lunar phasing of foraminiferal export fluxes, but spatial differences in its presence may exist, corroborating the exogenous nature of lunar synchrony in planktonic foraminifera.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Biogeosciences Discussions
ISSN: 1810-6285
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 5 May 2014
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2022 09:56

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