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Planktic Foraminifera-Based Sea Surface Temperature Estimates and Late Quaternary Oceanography off New Zealand's West Coast

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posted on 2021-11-10, 22:37 authored by Kolodziej, Andrew Peter

Planktic foraminiferal assemblages were used to investigate the paleoceanography of the Eastern Tasman Sea over the last 480 kyrs (Marine Isotope Stages 12-1). One hundred and sixty-two faunas (96 picked and identified as part of this project (MIS 12-6) added to 66 census counts from Dr. M. Crundwell (MIS 6-1)) have been assembled from Marion Dufresne piston core MD06-2986 (~43˚ S. off New Zealand‟s west coast, 1477 m water depth). Faunal changes through the last five glacial-interglacial cycles are used to track surface water mass movement. Glacial periods are dominated by the eutrophic species Globigerina bulloides, with significant contributions from the temperate species Globoconella inflata. Temperate species Neogloboquadrina incompta and Gc. inflata dominate interglacials, with the former dominating the warmer parts and the latter dominating the cooler parts of the interglacials. Modern Analogue Technique (MAT) and an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) were used to estimate past sea surface temperatures (SST) based on the foraminiferal census counts data (23 species, ~46,000 specimens). SSTs show that MIS 12 was the longest, sustained cold period, while the coldest temperature was recorded in MIS 5d (~8º C). Interglacials MIS 11 and 5e are the two warmest stages of the record, with SSTs reaching ~18.5º C, about ~2º C warmer than present day. We find that contrary to either the western Tasman Sea or offshore eastern New Zealand, the eastern Tasman Sea has been fairly isolated from any major influx of subpolar or subtropical species carried in with surface water from either high or low latitude sources. Subtropical taxa abundance (Globigerinoides ruber, Neogloboquadrina dutertrei (D), Globigerinoides sacculifer, Globigerinella aequilateralis, Sphaeroidinellopsis dehiscens, Truncorotalia truncatulinoides (D), Beella digitata) is low (average ~0.6%) and only prominent during peak interglacials. Subantarctic taxa abundance (Neogloboquadrina pachyderma, Neogloboquadrina dutertrei (S)) is low (average ~5.1%), but significant, particularly in glacial periods. Comparison of faunal and SSTANN data along with ratios of Nq. pachyderma:Nq. incompta (previously referred to as coiling ratios of Nq. pachyderma) and absolute abundance of planktic productivity (a productivity proxy) suggest that the STF migrated northwards towards the site in all glacial periods, and may have moved over the site in MIS 12 and possibly MIS 5d. A latitudinal SSTANN 25 comparison between offshore eastern and western New Zealand reveals that MD06-2986 (~43º S) is most similar (~0.5º C) to ODP Site 1125 (~42º S). On the contrary, ODP Site 1119 (44º S) is ~5º C cooler than MD06-2986. This comparison highlights the significant changes in surface water masses off eastern New Zealand that exist in such a short span of latitude because of the influence of a complex submarine topography.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Science

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Hannah, Michael