16 May 2023
 | 16 May 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Coccolithus pelagicus subsp. braarudii morphological plasticity in response to variations in the Canary region upwelling system over the past 250 ka

Gonçalo Prista, Áurea Narciso, and Mário Cachão

Abstract. Coccolith size matters on routine identification of calcareous nannofossil species. But morphometry can also be a tool to study their morphological plasticity and adaptations to environmental patterns. Most current studies are limited in extracting morphological plasticity data, with most statistical methods varying from histogram analysis to mixture analysis, or even multistatistical analysis, allowing the identification of morphotypes but with significant assumptions (e.g., normal distribution) on the morphological pattern of the potential different morphotypes within a population. To address this limitation a multivariate statistical morphometrical tool, Integrated Multivariate Morphon Analysis (IMMA), was developed to identify different placolith morphotypes regarding maximum coccolith length and applied to Quaternary GeoB5559-2 samples, using morphometry data of C. p. braarudii. The results show that IMMA and morphometry microvariations can be used to extract variations in upwelling intensity and primary productivity, extracting the morphological plasticity of C. p. braarudii as a response to primary productivity variations. Thus, IMMA has great potential for studies on the effects of climatic events on coastal upwelling regions during the Quaternary.

Gonçalo Prista et al.

Status: open (until 11 Jul 2023)

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Gonçalo Prista et al.

Gonçalo Prista et al.


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Short summary
Upwelling regions have great ecological, social, and economic importance, but predicting the effects of future climate change on upwelling systems is extremely difficult. One of the best tools we have is to look into the past and study their response to climate events. However, good proxies are hard to find due to different reasons. Here we show how using fossil coccolithophores, unicellular algae with calcified scales, is a promising tool, by using size variation to infer upwelling intensity.