Population ecology and shell chemistry were studied in the phytal ostracode Loxoconcha matagordensis (Swain 1955) collected from Zostera marina seagrass beds in the Chesapeake Bay to provide seasonal constraints on shell secretion time for paleothermometry. Population density and age structure were defined by two main breeding cycles that occurred between 01 to 15 June and 02 to 16 August 2001. The time interval between breeding cycles was ???2 months and total juvenile standing crop increased almost three-fold between the first and second breeding cycles. Dark brown over-wintered adults comprised the majority of the population between March and April 2001, while newly secreted translucent adults were predominant between June and September. Seasonal shell Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios were positively correlated with water temperature at both sites, with the strongest correlations occurring between June and September from newly secreted shells at Dameron Marsh. Old, dark brown shells contained 10% to 23% and 1% to 6% less Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca, respectively, than new shells. Because a fossil assemblage of L. matagordensis will contain ???30% old shells (dark-brown), these results suggest that fossil Mg/Ca ratios yield an integrated late spring to summer temperature signal. Shell Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios of specimens of L. matagordensis collected from living Zostera were positively correlated, suggesting that temperature may influence both elemental ratios. Mg/Ca and Sr/Ca ratios of fossil shells of the related species Loxoconcha sp. A obtained from four sediment cores were also studied and exhibited a weaker correlation between the two elemental ratios. ?? 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.