I used Caribbean corals from a controlled culturing experiment to investigate whether coral skeletal carbon isotopes reliably record bleaching events in the coral skeleton. Since this was not the case, I tested the validity of a proposed correction which showed that it cannot be universally applied to improve proxy records of light levels and cloud coverage.
This led me to investigate whether other geochemical proxies, such as coral skeletal boron isotopes or Sr/Ca ratios could serve as potential novel bleaching proxies. Using the same Caribbean coral species, I found that boron isotopes were not affected by significant changes in coral physiology due to short-term bleaching, and that trace element ratios did not consistently record changes in either temperature or coral physiology.
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