Author(s): Popp BN, Takigiku R, Hayes JM, Louda JW, Baker EW
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Abstract Carbon-isotopic compositions of geoporphyrins have been measured from marine sediments of Mesozoic and Cenozoic age in order to elucidate the timing and extent of depletion of 13C in marine primary producers. These results indicate that the difference in isotopic composition of coeval marine carbonates and marine primary photosynthate was approximately 5 to 7 permil greater during the Mesozoic and early Cenozoic than at present. In contrast to the isotopic record of marine primary producers, isotopic compositions of terrestrial organic materials have remained approximately constant for this same interval of time. This difference in the isotopic records of marine and terrestrial organic matter is considered in terms of the mechanisms controlling the isotopic fractionation associated with photosynthetic fixation of carbon. We show that the decreased isotopic fractionation between marine carbonates and organic matter from the Early to mid-Cenozoic may record variations in the abundance of atmospheric CO2.
This article was published in Am J Sci
and referenced in Journal of Ecosystem & Ecography