Precisely targeted measurements of trace elements using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) reveal inter-chamber heterogeneities in specimens of the planktic foraminifer Trilobatus (Globigerinoides) sacculifer. We find that Mg/Ca ratios in the final growth chamber are generally lower compared to previous growth chambers, but final chamber Mg/Ca is elevated in one of thirteen sample intervals. Differences in distributions of Mg/Ca values from separate growth chambers are observed, occurring most often at lower Mg/Ca values, suggesting that single-chamber measurements may not be reflective of the specimen’s integrated Mg/Ca. We compared LA-ICPMS Mg/Ca values to paired, same-individual Mg/Ca measured via inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) to assess their correspondence. Paired LA-ICPMS and ICP-OES Mg/Ca show a maximum correlation coefficient of R = 0.92 (p < 0.05) achieved by applying a weighted average of the last and penultimate growth chambers. Population distributions of paired Mg/Ca values are identical under this weighting. These findings demonstrate that multi-chamber LA-ICPMS measurements can approximate entire specimen Mg/Ca, and is thus representative of the integrated conditions experienced during the specimen’s lifespan. This correspondence between LA-ICPMS and ICP-OES data links these methods and demonstrates that both generate Mg/Ca values suitable for individual foraminifera palaeoceanographic reconstructions.
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