21 Mar 2023
 | 21 Mar 2023
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal GChron.

Marine reservoir ages for coastal West Africa

Guillaume Soulet, Philippe Maestrati, Serge Gofas, Germain Bayon, Fabien Dewilde, Maylis Labonne, Bernard Dennielou, Franck Ferraton, and Giuseppe Siani

Abstract. We measured the 14C age of pre-bomb suspension-feeding bivalves of known-age from coastal West Africa (n = 30) across a latitudinal transect extending from 33° N to 15° S. The specimens are from the collections of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris, France). They were carefully chosen to ensure that the specimens were alive when collected or died not long before collection. From the 14C-dating of these know-age bivalves, we calculated the marine reservoir age (as ΔR and R values) for each specimen. ΔR values were calculated relative to the Marine20 calibration curve and the R values relative to Intcal20 or SHcal20 calibration curves. Except five outliers, the ΔR and R values were quite homogenous to a mean value of −77 ± 47 14C yrs (1sd, n = 25), and of 400 ± 59 14C yrs (1sd, n = 25), respectively. These values are typical of low latitude marine reservoir age values. Five suspension-feeding species living in five different ecological habitats were studied. For localities were different species were available, the results yielded similar results whatever the specie considered suggesting that the habitat has only a limited impact on the marine reservoir age reconstruction. We show that our measured marine reservoir ages follow the declining trend of the global marine reservoir age starting ca. 1900 AD, suggesting that marine reservoir age of coastal West Africa is driven, at least at first order, by the global carbon cycle and climate rather than by local effects. Each outlier was discussed. Sub-fossil specimens likely explain the older 14C age and thus larger marine reservoir age measured for these samples. Bucardium ringens might not a best choice for marine reservoir age reconstructions.

Guillaume Soulet et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on gchron-2023-5', Paula Reimer, 08 Apr 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on CC1', Guillaume Soulet, 05 Jun 2023
  • RC1: 'Review: No C cycle role in MRA around 1900 AD', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 Apr 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC1', Guillaume Soulet, 05 Jun 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on gchron-2023-5', Michel Fontugne, 24 Apr 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Guillaume Soulet, 05 Jun 2023
  • AC4: 'Comment on gchron-2023-5', Guillaume Soulet, 05 Jun 2023

Guillaume Soulet et al.

Guillaume Soulet et al.


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Short summary
The marine reservoir age (MRA) that is the difference between the 14C age of the ocean and that of the atmosphere at a given time. In geochronology, knowing the local MRA is important to derive accurate calibrated ages for 14C-dated marine material. However, MRA values for coastal West Africa are scarce. From the 14C-dating of know-age bivalves from Museum collections, we calculated MRA values and populated the MRA dataset for coastal West Africa over a latitdinal transect from 33° N to 15° S.