In order to reconstruct former sea level we have developed a foraminifera-based transfer function using three models based on a modern dataset of 59 samples and 23 species obtained from four Basque marshes in Northern Spain. The relationship between observed and foraminifera-predicted elevation illustrated the strong performance of the transfer function (r(jack)(2) ranges from 0.74 to 0.81). These results indicated that precise reconstructions of former sea levels are possible (error ranges from 0.11 to 0.19 m). The transfer function was used to calibrate the foraminiferal assemblages collected from a 50 cm salt marsh core. We placed the foraminifera-based reconstructions into a temporal framework using Cs-137, Pb concentrations, and Pb-210-derived sediment accumulation rates. The resulting relative sea-level curve is in good agreement with regional tide-gauge data. Both instrumental data and microfossil records suggest a rate of relative sea-level rise of approximately 2 mm yr(-1) for the 20th century. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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