Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department

Environment, Economics and Politics

Reader 1

Branwen Williams

Reader 2

Elise Ferree

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2014 Devyn Parks


Climate change, upwelling events, and local oceanographic events influence nutrient availability to primary producers in the ocean, which in turn affects the ratio of lighter to heavier isotopes, δ15N and δ13C, found in the primary producers of the ocean. When these primary producers die, they create sinking particulate organic matter (POMsink) which is taken up by the calcite and proteinaceous gorgonin rich coral Primnoa pacifica and integrated into their alternating concentric growth bands. Within this study, Primnoa pacifica from Glacier Bay Basin in Alaska is used as an environmental proxy to examine the δ15N and δ13C patterns and variations in the ocean and atmosphere over time. We examined the variations between each sample and compared the information to previously recorded data. δ15N and δ13C of four coral samples were compared using distance as a proxy for time. The approximate calculated ages of GB1 and GB2 were 28.2 and 40.6 years respectively. The δ13C results for this study were inconclusive because inorganic carbon from the calcite layer of the skeleton skewed the results. δ15N results showed much variation between samples.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.