Biological Controls on Coral Sr/Ca and δ18O Reconstructions of Sea Surface Temperatures

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Science  01 Sep 1995:
Vol. 269, Issue 5228, pp. 1247-1249
DOI: 10.1126/science.269.5228.1247


Coral strontium/calcium ratios have been used to infer that the tropical sea surface temperature (SST) cooled by as much as 6°C during the last glacial maximum. In contrast, little or no change has been inferred from other marine-based proxy records. Experimental studies of the effect of growth rate and the magnitude of intraspecific differences indicate that biological controls on coral skeletal strontium/calcium uptake have been underestimated. These results call into question the reliability of strontium/calcium-based SST reconstructions.