Uptake of alkaline earth metals in Alcyonarian spicules (Octocorallia)

Taubner, Isabelle, Böhm, Florian, Eisenhauer, Anton, Garbe-Schönberg, Dieter and Erez, J. (2012) Uptake of alkaline earth metals in Alcyonarian spicules (Octocorallia) Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 84 . pp. 239-255. DOI 10.1016/j.gca.2012.01.037.

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Supplementary data:


Alcyonarian corals (Octocorallia) living in shallow tropical seas produce spicules of high-Mg calcite with ∼13 mol% MgCO3. We cultured the tropical alcyonarian coral Rhythisma fulvum in experiments varying temperature (19–32 °C) and pH (8.15–8.44). Alkalinity depletion caused by spicule formation systematically varied in the temperature experiments increasing from 19 to 29 °C. Spicules were investigated for their elemental ratios (Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca) using ICP-OES, δ44/40Ca using TIMS, as well as δ18O and δ13C by IRMS. Mg/Ca increased with temperature from 146 to 164 mmol/mol, in good agreement with the range observed for marine inorganic calcite. Mg/Ca increased by 1.0 ± 0.4 mmol/mol/°C, similar to the sensitivity of Miliolid foraminifera. The pH experiments revealed a linear relationship between Mg/Ca and carbonate ion concentration of +0.03 ± 0.02 mmol/mol/μMol. Sr/Ca ranges from 2.5 to 2.9 mmol/mol being in good agreement with other high-Mg calcites. Temperature and pH experiments showed linear dependencies of Sr/Ca matching inorganic calcite trends and pointing to a decoupling of crystal precipitation rate and calcification rate. Ca isotopes range between 0.7‰ and 0.9‰ in good agreement with aragonitic scleractinian corals and calcitic coccoliths. Presumably Ca isotopes are fractionated by a biological mechanism that may be independent of the skeletal mineralogy. We observe no temperature trend, but a significant decrease of δ44/40Ca with increasing pH. This inverse correlation may characterise biologically controlled intracellular calcification. Oxygen isotope ratios are higher than expected for isotopic equilibrium with a temperature sensitivity of −0.15 ± 0.03‰/°C. Carbon isotope ratios are significantly lower than expected for equilibrium and positively correlated with temperature with a slope of 0.20 ± 0.04‰/°C.

Many of our observations on trace element incorporation in R. fulvum may be explained by inorganic processes during crystal formation, which do not comply with the intracellular mode of calcification in Alcyonarian corals. The observed elemental and isotopic compositions, however, could be explained if the partitioning caused by biological mechanisms mimics the effects of inorganic processes.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Geochemistry; Octocorals, magnesium, calcium, strontium, calcium isotopes, carbon isotopes, oxygen isotopes, Mg-calcite, intracellular calcification, culturing
Research affiliation: Kiel University
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R09
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.gca.2012.01.037
ISSN: 0016-7037
Projects: VARAN, TRION, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2012 08:40
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2017 09:25
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/14672

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