Coupled coccolith-based temperature and productivity high-resolution reconstructions in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific during the last deglaciation and the Holocene

Mariem Saavedra-Pellitero, Iván Hernández-Almeida, Eloy Cabarcos, Karl Heinz Baumann, Tom Dunkley Jones, Francisco Javier Sierro, José Abel Flores

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We present a new high-resolution reconstruction of annual sea-surface temperatures (SSTa) and net primary productivity (NPP) using novel coccolithophore-based models developed for the Eastern Equatorial Pacific (EEP). We combined published coccolithophore census counts from core-tops in the Eastern Pacific with 32 new samples from the Equatorial region, to derive a new statistical model to reconstruct SSTa. Results show that the addition of the new EEP samples improves existing coccolithophore-based SST-calibrations, and allow reconstructing SSTa in the EEP with higher confidence. We also merged the relative abundance of deep-photic species Florisphaera profunda in the same surface sediment samples with existing calibration datasets for tropical regions, to reconstruct annual NPP. Both temperature and productivity calibrations were successfully applied to fossil coccolith data from Ocean Drilling Project Site 1240, in the EEP. The coccolith-based SSTa estimates show a cooling during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and the Younger Dryas, and warming at the start of the Holocene. This pattern differs in the timing and magnitude of the temperature changes from other available SST-reconstructions based on biogeochemical and faunal proxies. We discuss these discrepancies to be the result of different proxy sensitivities to insolation forcing, seasonal bias, and/or preservation artifacts. Reconstructed annual NPP shows a general decreasing trend from the late last glacial period to recent times, which we relate to the weakening of wind-driven equatorial upwelling towards the Holocene. We also calculated carbon export using our SSTa and NPP reconstructions, and compared to other geochemical-based reconstructions for the same location. Our coupled SSTa-NPP reconstruction provides key data to more fully assess the evolution of primary and export productivity as well as organic carbon burial in the EEP, with implications for its role in global biogeochemical cycles across glacial terminations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number865846
Number of pages22
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2022


  • coccolith
  • coccolithophores
  • Eastern Equatorial Pacific
  • Holocene
  • palaeoproductivity
  • palaeotemperature
  • Termination I

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