Ba/Ca in cockle shells can be used as a salinity proxy
Our research focused on whether trace elements in Goolwa cockle shells (Donax deltoides) could be used as an environmental proxy. If so, this would provide a potential tool with which to trace past environmental histories for a region lacking high resolution environmental records. We collected cockles and water samples along an environmental gradient near the Murray Mouth and analysed both for a range of trace elements. Ba/Ca provided the best environmental indicator showing a negative relation between shell chemistry and recorded salinity. Ba/Ca in shells appears to be a suitable salinity tool and has the potential to provide an easily accessible and valuable proxy to gain insights into past environmental conditions that extend to before instrumental records existed.
The image to the right shows Danielle doing the cockle dance ably guided by a commercial fisher (Image: Chris Izzo)!
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