Advances of sclerochronology research in the last decade

Melita Peharda, Bernd R. Schöne, Bryan A. Black, Thierry Corrège

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, sclerochronological research has continued to develop rapidly and is diversifying with respect to methods, taxa, geographic coverage as well as temporal depth. Chonologically aligned environmental records from bivalves, gastropods, coralline algae, corals, and many other periodically formed biogenic hard parts are integrated to build networks across broad spatial domains and trophic levels. Replication and exact dating ensure that environmental signals are fully preserved and facilitate the integration among chronologies as well as observational records of climatic and biological phenomena. The proliferation of chronologies promises to usher in a new era of synthesis that integrates tropical to polar environments and links with other high-resolution archives such as tree-ring chronologies to assess broad-scale couplings between the ocean and atmosphere across different latitudes. An increasing number of studies also applies sclerochronological methods to fossils from the more distant past and studies paleoclimate variability in deep time. At the same time, rapid advances are being made in developing, optimizing and validating proxies from isotopes, trace and minor elements, and ultrastructures (aka microstructures) of periodically growing skeletal hard parts to reveal new parameters of environmental variability from these exactly dated frameworks. Beyond the importance for paleoclimatology, information recorded in such archives is of increasing relevance to ecology and management to provide insights on life history, population connectivity, productivity, and disentangling the impacts of natural and anthropogenic environmental and climate change. Likewise, environmental information from archaeological samples are providing new insights into long-term interactions between climate variability and dynamics of past human societies. This review paper provides insights into advances in the field of sclerochronology, with an emphasis on mollusks, including trends in the analysis of growth patterns, development and interpretation of proxies, diversity of taxa used in sclerochronological research, as well as the geographic and temporal coverage of sclerochronological research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110371
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
StatePublished - May 15 2021


  • Environmental proxy
  • Growth pattern
  • Increment
  • Shell geochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology


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