The reef builder gastropod Dendropoma petreaum - A proxy of short and long term climatic events in the Eastern Mediterranean

Guy Sisma-Ventura*, Barak Guzner, Ruth Yam, Maoz Fine, Aldo Shemesh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


High-resolution δ18O and δ13C records obtained from seven cores were drilled from ledges of the reef builder gastropod Dendropoma petreaum and used to reconstruct variations in the Levantine basin sea surface temperature, hydrology and productivity during the past 500 years. The δ18O of the aragonite shell of living D. petreaum indicate that skeletal deposition occurs under isotopic equilibrium and faithfully record the temperature and surface water δ18O during summer and autumn. The mean down core δ18O record clearly captures global and local climatic events, such as the Little Ice Age (LIA) and the recent warming of surface waters in the Eastern Mediterranean. Comparison to the Western Mediterranean vermetid δ18O record reveals changes in the freshwater/evaporation budgets of the two basins during cold and warm periods. The Eastern basin had lower surface temperatures and excess evaporation during the LIA and experienced a relatively larger warming and/or a decrease in freshwater/evaporation during the past 70 years. The D. petraeum δ13C is strongly related to δ13C of dissolved inorganic carbon and to the primary productivity of the surface water. The mean down core δ13C record exhibits enrichment during the LIA maximum and a strong depletion trend during the last century. The LIA δ13C enrichment is attributed to an increase in primary production and high nutrient levels which resulted from increased vertical mixing and upwelling. The last century δ13C depletion is mostly related to the increased anthropogenic emissions of 13C depleted carbon dioxide and to a certain decrease in primary production. The data indicate that D. petraeum isotopic signatures are unique proxies for last 500 years high-resolution reconstruction of paleo-oceanographic environments in the Mediterranean and potentially in the sub-tropical Atlantic regions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4376-4383
Number of pages8
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


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