Ostracod palaeoecology and biogeochemistry of marine and estuarine interglacial deposits in North West Europe
Ostracods were obtained from two cores in the southern North Sea area: the Sand Hole and Swarte Bank Formations of Tappin (1991) in BGS borehole 81/52A, cored from the Inner Silver Pit, southern North Sea, and a core from Shoeburyness in Essex, borehole S 1. The faunal assemblages in 131-181/52A were dominated by Sarsicytheridea punctillata, Elo/sonella concinna and Acanthocvthereis clunelmnensis. The assemblages recovered reflect a transition from glacio-marine conditions in the Swarte Bank Formation up into a cold-temperate marine environment in the Sand Hole Formation with deteriorating temperatures indicated at the top of the interval studied. In BHSI a freshwater to brackish transition occurred in the core, the freshwater section being dominated by Darwinula slevensoni and llyocypris spp., and the brackish section by Cyprideis torosa and C ytheromor pha fiiscata. The palaeoecology of the ostracod assemblages recovered is compared to other palaeoecological data from the same sections in each core and to ostracod data from other Hoxnian/l lolsteinian sites in north western Europe. These data are also discussed in the light of evidence indicating that there was a barrier across the southern North Sea when the sediments examined were deposited. Sarsicytheridea spp. and (yprideis terosa were used for trace element (Mg: Ca, Sr: Ca) and stable isotope (cS'"O, ö'3C) analyses. A calibration equation for the calculation of temperature from Mg: Ca ratio was successfully established from analysis of modern Sarsicytheridea. Modern Sr: Ca data could not be used to establish a calibration for salinity since there was too much scatter in the data. (' prideis torosa has been used for trace element and stable isotope work by other authors who have published relationships between ('yprideis and the water chemistry. Ostracods were also analysed down core to examine the changing ratios of Mg and Sr as a proxy for temperature and salinity changes in the I-loxnian of the southern North Sea. In BH81/52A, Mg: Ca data indicated a deterioration in temperature from 36.20 m to the top of the section studied of 9°C. Oxygen stable isotopic analyses from the same species, measured through the same core intervals, did not exhibit a trend, but their values were indicative of normal marine salinities. Carbon stable isotope analyses, performed at the same time as the oxygen analyses, indicate that there may have been high productivity in the region of deposition of the Sand Hole Formation, implying deposition in a region of freshwater influence. However, C/N analyses indicated that the sediments in the Inner Silver Pit were deposited under fully marine conditions. In III ISI, both the Mg: Ca and Sr: Ca data suggested that salinity had increased upcore. Ilowever, there was a lot of scatter in the data, indicating that the estuarine environment, under which the palaeoecology suggests the sediments were deposited, was a highly fluctuating one. These data compare favourably with previously published records. Published partition coefficients were used to compare the trace element data obtained to mean river and seawater values.