We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details

Racionero-Gómez, B., Sproson, A.D., Selby, D., Gannoun, A., Gröcke, D.R., Greenwell, H.C. & Burton, K.W. (2017). Osmium uptake, distribution, and 187Os/188Os and 187Re/188Os compositions in Phaeophyceae macroalgae, Fucus vesiculosus: Implications for determining the 187Os/188Os composition of seawater. Geochimica Cosmochimica et Acta 199: 48-57.

Author(s) from Durham


The osmium isotopic composition (187Os/188Os) of seawater reflects the balance of input from mantle-, continental- and anthropogenic-derived sources. This study utilizes the Phaeophyceae, Fucus vesiculosus, to analyse its Os abundance and uptake, as well as to assess if macroalgae records the Os isotope composition of the seawater in which it lives. The data demonstrates that Os is not located in one specific biological structure within macroalgae, but is found throughout the organism. Osmium uptake was measured by culturing F. vesiculosus non-fertile tips with different concentrations of Os with a known 187Os/188Os composition (∼0.16), which is significantly different from the background isotopic composition of local seawater (∼0.94). The Os abundance of cultured non-fertile tips show a positive correlation to the concentration of the Os doped seawater. Moreover, the 187Os/188Os composition of the seaweed equaled that of the culture medium, stongly confirming the possible use of macroalgae as a biological proxy for the Os isotopic composition of the seawater.