, 4:23 | Cite as

Late Holocene paleoceanography in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, Arctic Ocean, based on benthic foraminifera and ostracodes

  • Julia L. SeidensteinEmail author
  • Thomas M. Cronin
  • Laura Gemery
  • Lloyd D. Keigwin
  • Christof Pearce
  • Martin Jakobsson
  • Helen K. Coxall
  • Emily A. Wei
  • Neal W. Driscoll
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. PAST Gateways


Calcareous microfossil assemblages in late Holocene sediments from the western Arctic continental shelf provide an important baseline for evaluating the impacts of today’s changing Arctic oceanography. This study compares 14C-dated late Holocene microfaunal assemblages of sediment cores SWERUS-L2-2-PC1, 2-MC4 and 2-KL1 (57 mwd), which record the last 4200 years in the Herald Canyon (Chukchi Sea shelf), and HLY1302-JPC-32, GGC-30, MC-29 (60 mwd), which record the last 3000 years in the Beaufort Sea shelf off the coast of Canada. Foraminiferal and ostracode assemblages are typical of Arctic continental shelf environments with annual sea-ice cover and show relatively small changes in terms of variability of dominant species. Important microfaunal changes in the Beaufort site include a spike in Spiroplectammina biformis coinciding with a decrease in Cassidulina reniforme in the last few centuries suggesting an increase of Pacific Water influence and decreased sea-ice. There is low-amplitude centennial-scale variability in proportions of benthic foraminiferal species, such as C. reniforme. In addition to these species, Cassidulina teretis s.l., Elphidium excavatum clavatum and Stainforthia feylingi are also common at this site. At the Herald Canyon site in the last few centuries, C. reniforme peaks around 150 years BP and then decreases while Spiroplectammina earlandi spikes and Acanthocythereis dunelmensis decreases also suggesting an increase in Pacific Water influence and decreased sea-ice at this site. This site also includes Buccella spp. and Elphidium excavatum clavatum. Differences in benthic foraminifera and ostracode species dominance between the two sites may be due to a greater influence of Pacific Water in the Chukchi shelf, compared to the more distal Beaufort shelf, which is also affected by the Beaufort Gyre and the Mackenzie River.


Paleoceanography Holocene Microfossils Arctic Pacific Water 



Thanks to the scientists and crew on the icebreaker Oden for the Swedish-Russian-US Investigation of Climate, Cryosphere and Carbon interaction (SWERUS-C3) expedition in 2014 and USCGC Healy 1302 expedition in 2013. The SWERUS-C3 program was funded by a grant from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and by the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat. A National Science Foundation grant (ARC-1204045) funded the Healy 1302 expedition. Thanks to A. Ruefer, A. Xu and S. Fisher for sample processing and M. Toomey for help with the age model. The U.S. Geological Survey Climate and Land Use R&D Program funded this study. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

41063_2018_58_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (168 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 168 KB)


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Copyright information

© US Government (outside the USA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia L. Seidenstein
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  • Thomas M. Cronin
    • 1
  • Laura Gemery
    • 1
  • Lloyd D. Keigwin
    • 2
  • Christof Pearce
    • 3
    • 4
  • Martin Jakobsson
    • 3
  • Helen K. Coxall
    • 3
  • Emily A. Wei
    • 5
  • Neal W. Driscoll
    • 5
  1. 1.Natural Systems Analysts, IncU.S. Geological SurveyRestonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geology and GeophysicsWoods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Geological Sciences and Bolin Centre for Climate ResearchStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Department of Geoscience, Arctic Research Centre and iClimateAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  5. 5.Scripps Institution of OceanographyUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  6. 6.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of Massachusetts-AmherstAmherstUSA

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