GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 225-11
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM


KARNES, Molly1, CHAN, Rachel L.1, GRIFFITHS, Michael L.2, SHIMADA, Kenshu3, BECKER, Martin A.2, EAGLE, Robert4, CLIFF, Geremy5, MAISCH IV, Harry M.2 and KIM, Sora1, (1)Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Merced, Merced, CA 95343, (2)Department of Environmental Science, William Paterson University of New Jersey, 300 Pompton Road, Wayne, NJ 07470, (3)Environmental Science Program and Department of Biological Sciences, DePaul Univ, 2325 N. Clifton Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614, (4)Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, (5)Kwazulu-Natal Sharks Board, Richards Bay, 3901, South Africa

Shark teeth are extremely abundant in the fossil record and can be used as ancient data buoys, recording physiological information, ecological interactions, and paleo-oceanographic conditions of prehistoric shark taxa. A tool often used in paleobiological studies to access this recorded information is stable isotope analysis. Fossil shark teeth are well suited for stable isotope analysis because their enameloid is primarily fluorapatite, Ca5(PO4)F, which has a high chemical stability and is resistant to diagenetic alteration. Despite being regularly used in paleoecological studies of other organisms, carbonate carbon isotopic values (δ13CCO3) in shark enameloid have remained enigmatic. Values of organic dietary carbon (δ13Corg) we measured from collagen in tooth dentine range from -16.0‰ to -10.8‰. Surprisingly, the δ13CCO3 values we measured are much higher, ranging from -6.0‰ to 10.3‰. It is possible that, like otoliths, the source of carbon in shark enameloid is partitioned between dietary carbon and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). Here, we investigate the relationships of stable isotope systems (δ13CCO3, δ18OCO3, δ18OPO4) within modern shark teeth in order to build an interpretative framework for future fossil studies. We generated δ13Corg, δ13CCO3, δ18OCO3, δ18OPO4 values for modern teeth (N=137) of wild caught, captive study, and aquarium reared species. We then used these relationships to interpret the ecology and environment of Miocene–Pliocene fossil sharks. We found no relationship between δ13Corg and δ13CCO3 in shark teeth, but instead found that this offset correlates with δ18OCO3 values. This anomalous trend suggests that carbonate carbon isotope composition is temperature dependent and prone to partitioning or fractionation. Interestingly, there is no correlation between δ18OPO4 and δ18OCO3 values in modern shark teeth, which contrasts with mammalian studies to date and suggests this metric is not an appropriate test for diagenetic alteration in fossil shark teeth. Gaining a better understanding of δ13CCO3 values and how they relate to δ13Corg will allow us to estimate δ13Corg values of fossils and learn more about food web dynamics of ancient ecosystems.