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Australian marine radiocarbon reservoir effects: ΔR atlas and ΔR calculator for Australian mainland coasts and near-shore islands
Ulm, S.; O’Grady, D.; Petchey, F.; Hua, Q.; Jacobsen, G.; Linnenlucke, L.; David, B.; Rosendahl, D.; Bunbury, M.M.E.; Bird, M.I.; Reimer, P.J. (2023). Australian marine radiocarbon reservoir effects: ΔR atlas and ΔR calculator for Australian mainland coasts and near-shore islands. Radiocarbon 65(5): 1139-1159.
In: Radiocarbon. UNIV ARIZONA DEPT GEOSCIENCES: New Haven,. ISSN 0033-8222; e-ISSN 1945-5755, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Mollusca [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    marine 14C; marine radiocarbon reservoir effects; mollusks; MRE; radiocarbon; ?R

Authors  Top 
  • Ulm, S.
  • O’Grady, D.
  • Petchey, F.
  • Hua, Q.
  • Jacobsen, G.
  • Linnenlucke, L.
  • David, B., more
  • Rosendahl, D.
  • Bunbury, M.M.E.
  • Bird, M.I.
  • Reimer, P.J.


    Studies of pre-bomb mollusks live-collected around the Australian coastline have concluded that near-shore marine radiocarbon reservoir effects are small and relatively uniform. These studies are based on limited samples of sometimes dubious quality representing only selective parts of Australia’s lengthy coastline. We systematically examine spatial variability in the marine radiocarbon reservoir effect (ΔR) through analysis of 292 live-collected mollusk samples across the Australian mainland coasts and near-shore islands subject to strict selection criteria. This study presents 233 new ΔR values combined with an evaluation of 59 previously published values. Results demonstrate significant spatial variability in marine radiocarbon reservoir effects across the study region. ΔR values range from 68 ± 24 14C years off the Pilbara region of Western Australia to –337 ± 46 14C years in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland. Most sets of local values exhibit internal consistency, reflecting the dominant influence of regional oceanography, including depletion in ΔR values southwards along the eastern Australian coastline coincident with the East Australian Current. Anomalous values are attributed to inaccurate documentation, species-specific relationships with the carbon cycle and/or short-term fluctuations in marine radiocarbon activities. To account for the heterogeneous distribution of marine 14C, we recommend using a location specific ΔR value calculated using the Australian ΔR Calculator, available at:

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