Hot off the press! New record of sea surface temperatures over the last 20,000 years and the growth of the Great Barrier Reef.

Please join me in congratulating GRG collaborator Dr. Logan Brenner and the team on the publication of our new paper in the journal Paleoceangraphy and Paleoclimatology.

Brenner, L.D., Linsley, B.K., Webster, J.M., Potts, D., Felis, T., Gagan, M.K., Inoue, M., McGregor, H., Suzuki, A., Tudhope, A., Esat, T., Thomas, A., Thompson, W., Fallon, S., Humblet, M., Tiwari, M. and Yokoyama, Y., 2020. Coral Record of Younger Dryas Chronozone Warmth on the Great Barrier Reef. Paleoceangraphy and Paleoclimatology, 35(12): e2020PA003962.

Some of the papers key points include:

  1. Near‐modern sea surface temperatures were reached during the Younger Dryas Chronozone (YDC, ~13,000-12,000 years ago) on the Great Barrier Reef
  2. Sea surface temperature, reef assemblage, and sea level data provide an overview of the evolution of the Great Barrier Reef since the LGM (~20,000 years ago)
  3. Isopora‐based sea surface temperature calibrations can be applied to fossil Isopora to understand environmental change on coral reefs

Brenner, L.D., et al.. 2020. Paleoceangraphy and Paleoclimatology, 35(12): e2020PA003962.

This new paper builds directly on the Nature CommunicationsNature and Nature Geoscience papers we published recently on the IODP Exp. 325 (Great Barrier Reef Environmental Changes) and provides important new insights into how sea surface temperatures (SST’s) have changed over the last ~20,000 years. Like ice cores or tree rings, corals can record a “snap shot” of the environmental conditions they were growing in at the time. Sr/Ca‐ and δ18O‐derived SST anomalies (SSTA) were reconstructed from fossil Isopora colonies that were recovered during the drilling campaign to recover reef cores from the GBR shelf edge.

Brenner, L.D., et al.. 2020. Paleoceangraphy and Paleoclimatology, 35(12): e2020PA003962.

The paper also provides a comprehensive exploration of how SST and relative sea-level (RSL) changes may have influenced the development of the GBR with respect to the different reef sequences, coralgal assemblages and vertical accretion rates. This is a really interesting paper that brings into sharp focus the importance of thinking about the confluence of environmental stresses (temperature, sea-level and water quality) and their impact on the GBR’s past (and future?) growth and demise.

Well done Logan and the team!




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