Influence of Land Development on Holocene <i>Porites</i> Coral Calcification at Nagura Bay, Ishigaki Island, Japan

<div><p>To evaluate the relationships between coral calcification, thermal stress, and sedimentation and eutrophication linked to human impact (hereafter referred to as “land development”) by river discharge, we analyzed growth characteristics in the context of a paleoenvironment that was reconstructed from geochemical signals in modern and fossil (1.2 cal kyr BP and 3.5 cal kyr BP, respectively) massive <i>Porites</i> corals from Nagura Bay (“Nagura”) and from modern <i>Porites</i> corals from the estuary of the Todoroki River, Shiraho Reef (“Todoroki”). Both sites are on Ishigaki Island, Japan, and Nagura is located approximately 12 km west of Todoroki. At Nagura, the individual corals provide time windows of 13 (modern), 10 (1.2 cal kyr BP), and 38 yr in length (3.5 cal kyr BP). Here, we present the coral annual calcification for Nagura and Todoroki, and (bi) monthly resolved records of Sr/Ca (a proxy of sea surface temperature (SST)) and Ba/Ca (a proxy of sedimentation and nutrients related to land development) for Nagura. At Nagura, the winter SST was cooler by 2.8°C in the 1.2 cal kyr BP, and the annual and winter SSTs in the 3.5 cal kyr BP were cooler by 2.6°C and 4.6°C, respectively. The annual periodicity of Ba/Ca in modern coral is linked to river discharge and is associated with land development including sugar cane cultivation. Modern coral calcification also has declined with SST warming and increasing Ba/Ca peaks in winter. However, calcification of fossil corals does not appear to have been influenced by variations in Sr/Ca and Ba/Ca. Modern coral growth characteristics at Nagura and Todoroki indicate that coral growth is both spatially and temporally influenced by river discharge and land development. At Nagura, our findings suggest that land development induces negative thermal sensitivity for calcification in winter due to sugar cane harvest, which is a specifically modern phenomenon.</p></div>