Scientia Marina, Vol 73, No 2 (2009)

Recent sea-level changes in the southern Bay of Biscay: transfer function reconstructions from salt-marshes compared with instrumental data

Eduardo Leorri
Facultade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

Alejandro Cearreta
Facultad de Ciencia y Tecnología, Universidad del País Vasco/EHU, Spain


In order to assess the accuracy and regional significance of salt-marsh reconstructions of former sea level based on foraminiferal transfer functions, we compared the calibration of the foraminiferal assemblages of two salt-marsh cores from two estuaries using the regional transfer function constructed for the southern Bay of Biscay. The foraminifera-based reconstructions were placed into a temporal framework using 137Cs, heavy metal concentrations, and 210Pb-derived sediment accumulation rates. The resulting relative sea-level (RSL) curves were compared with the nearest tide-gauge data (Santander). The two RSL trends from core sediments show excellent agreement and are in very good agreement with instrumental data, providing a regional relative sea-level rise of 1.9 mm yr-1 for the 20th century.


marsh foraminifera, transfer function, <sup>137</sup>Cs, heavy metal concentrations, <sup>210</sup>Pb dating, sea level, Bay of Biscay.

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