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Paleoproductivity, nutrient burial, climate change and the carbon cycle in the western equatorial Atlantic across the Eocene/Oligocene boundary

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Paleoproductivity, nutrient burial, and carbon cycling were investigated across the Eocene/Oligocene (E/O) boundary (begin to end; 36.9–32.7 Ma at ∼40 kyr resolution, timescale of Shackleton et al. [1999]) at Ocean Drilling Program Site 925 on the Ceara Rise in the western equatorial Atlantic (3040 m present water depth; 748.26–850.70 mbsf). Downcore bulk sediment records of biogenic barium, total reactive phosphorus, biogenic silica, and calcium carbonate are interpreted to represent export production, net nutrient burial, biogenic opal production, and inorganic carbon burial, respectively. The global positive excursion in δ13C subsequent to the E/O boundary is recorded at Site 925. Export production appears to have been externally forced by orbital parameters at eccentricity frequencies during the study interval, based on spectral analysis of the biogenic barium and reactive phosphorus records. Biogenic silica production or preservation increased after the Eocene/Oligocene boundary to a higher baseline, although overall productivity and nutrient burial did not increase, based on barium and reactive phosphorus records. Thus, although absolute production did not increase at this site, a shift in relative abundance of siliceous versus carbonate productivity may have resulted in a change in relative organic carbon burial. This may have contributed to the positive excursion in global oceanic δ13C subsequent to the Eocene/Oligocene boundary, although the silica maximum persists after the carbon isotope excursion ends.

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