Coral skeletal geochemistry as a monitor of inshore water quality

Saha, Narottam, Webb, Gregory E. and Zhao, Jian-Xin (2016) Coral skeletal geochemistry as a monitor of inshore water quality. Science of the Total Environment, 566-567 652-684. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.05.066

Author Saha, Narottam
Webb, Gregory E.
Zhao, Jian-Xin
Title Coral skeletal geochemistry as a monitor of inshore water quality
Journal name Science of the Total Environment   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1879-1026
Publication date 2016-10-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.05.066
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 566-567
Start page 652
End page 684
Total pages 33
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Language eng
Subject 2305 Environmental Engineering
2304 Environmental Chemistry
2311 Waste Management and Disposal
2310 Pollution
Abstract Coral reefs maintain extraordinary biodiversity and provide protection from tsunamis and storm surge, but inshore coral reef health is degrading in many regions due to deteriorating water quality. Deconvolving natural and anthropogenic changes to water quality is hampered by the lack of long term, dated water quality data but such records are required for forward modelling of reef health to aid their management. Reef corals provide an excellent archive of high resolution geochemical (trace element) proxies that can span hundreds of years and potentially provide records used through the Holocene. Hence, geochemical proxies in corals hold great promise for understanding changes in ancient water quality that can inform broader oceanographic and climatic changes in a given region. This article reviews and highlights the use of coral-based trace metal archives, including metal transported from rivers to the ocean, incorporation of trace metals into coral skeletons and the current 'state of the art' in utilizing coral trace metal proxies as tools for monitoring various types of local and regional source-specific pollution (river discharge, land use changes, dredging and dumping, mining, oil spills, antifouling paints, atmospheric sources, sewage). The three most commonly used coral trace element proxies (i.e., Ba/Ca, Mn/Ca, and Y/Ca) are closely associated with river runoff in the Great Barrier Reef, but considerable uncertainty remains regarding their complex biogeochemical cycling and controlling mechanisms. However, coral-based water quality reconstructions have suffered from a lack of understanding of so-called vital effects and early marine diagenesis. The main challenge is to identify and eliminate the influence of extraneous local factors in order to allow accurate water quality reconstructions and to develop alternate proxies to monitor water pollution. Rare earth elements have great potential as they are self-referencing and reflect basic terrestrial input.
Keyword Coral calcification
Coral geochemical proxies
Scleractinian corals
Trace element uptake
Water quality
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID DP120101793
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
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School of Earth Sciences Papers
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