“Secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster,” wrote Dickens. But he also knew that no oyster lives independent of his environment. In this contribution, Sælen and others use this concept to attempt to use δ18O, δ 13C, 87Sr/86Sr and elemental analysis of oyster shells to unravel paleoenvironmental settings of carbonates and mixed siliciclastic-carbonates from Miocene strata in the Lorca Basin of Spain. The raw and modeling results expand on patterns derived from contemporaneous corals and reveal novel insights into paleosalinities of marginal marine water in this basin. More generally, the results highlight the use of the well-preserved, low-Mg calcite shells of oysters to assess short-term changes in sea water salinity and temperature.
Oyster shells as recorders of short-term oscillations of salinity and temperature during deposition of coral bioherms and reefs in the Miocene Lorca Basin, SE Spain by Gunnar Sælen, Ingelin Løkling Lunde, Kristin Walderhaug Porten, Juan C. Braga, Siv Hjorth Dundas, Ulysses Silas Ninnemann, Yuval Ronen, and Michael Richard Talbot