The boron isotopic composition of biogenic carbonates has been used to reconstruct seawater pH and atmospheric pCO2 on Pleistocene and Cenozoic timescales. Because of their excellent preservation and extensive fossil record throughout the Phanerozoic, brachiopods are a promising candidate for extending the boron isotope record as far back as the Cambrian. Here we present stable carbon, oxygen, and boron isotopic measurements of modern Terebratulid brachiopod calcite in comparison with environmental pH estimates calculated from oceanographic data. Geochemical transects along the length and depth of single shells confirm previously published trends in carbon and oxygen isotopic composition. In the outer surface (primary and outermost secondary layers), δ11B covaries with δ13C and δ18O, with more negative values in the outer and more positive values in the middle of the shell. However, δ11B deviates from δ13C and δ18O in the inner part of the secondary layer, where the δ13C and δ18O values are more positive and near equilibrium, whereas δ11B returns to more negative values. Comparison of different specimens of the species Terebratalia transversa (Sowerby, 1846) and Laqueus californianus (Küster, 1844) microsampled from the middle part of the fibrous secondary layer demonstrate a clear correlation to ambient pH with a sensitivity similar to other empirical calibration curves for cultured planktic foraminifers, corals, and inorganic calcite. The relationship in other species is less clear and significantly offset, necessitating the use of single species or a cross-calibration method with other species in paleo-pH reconstructions.
Posts Tagged 'brachiopods'
Boron, carbon, and oxygen isotopic composition of brachiopod shells: intra-shell variability, controls, and potential as a paleo-pH recorderPublished 10 December 2012 Science Leave a Comment
Tags: brachiopods, methods, paleo
Marine invertebrate skeleton size varies with latitude, temperature, and carbonate saturation: implications for global change and ocean acidificationPublished 3 June 2012 Science 1 Comment
Tags: biological response, brachiopods, echinoderms, mollusks, morphometry
There is great concern over the future effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms, especially for skeletal calcification, yet little is known of natural variation in skeleton size and composition across the globe, and this is a prerequisite for identifying factors currently controlling skeleton mass and thickness. Here taxonomically-controlled latitudinal variations in shell morphology and composition were investigated in bivalve and gastropod molluscs, brachiopods and echinoids. Total inorganic content, a proxy for skeletal CaCO3, decreased with latitude, decreasing seawater temperature and decreasing seawater carbonate saturation state (for CaCO3 as calcite (Ωcal)) in all taxa. Shell mass decreased with latitude in molluscs and shell inorganic content decreased with latitude in buccinid gastropods. Shell thickness decreased with latitude in buccinid gastropods (excepting the Australian temperate buccinid) and echinoids, but not brachiopods and laternulid clams. In the latter the polar species had the thickest shell. There was no latitudinal trend in shell thickness within brachiopods. The variation in trends in shell thickness by taxon suggests that in some circumstances ecological factors may override latitudinal trends. Latitudinal gradients may produce effects similar to those of future CO2-driven ocean acidification on CaCO3 saturation state. Responses to latitudinal trends in temperature and saturation state may therefore be useful in informing predictions of organism responses to ocean acidification over long-term adaptive timescales.
Rapid dissolution of shells of weakly calcified Antarctic benthic macroorganisms indicates high vulnerability to ocean acidificationPublished 4 November 2009 Science 1 Comment
Tags: biological response, brachiopods, mollusks
Antarctic calcified macroorganisms are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification because many are weakly calcified, the dissolution rates of calcium carbonate are inversely related to temperature, and high latitude seas are predicted to become undersaturated in aragonite by the year 2100. We examined the post-mortem dissolution rates of aragonitic and calcitic shells from four species of Antarctic benthic marine invertebrates (two bivalves, one limpet, one brachiopod) and the thallus of a limpet shell-encrusting coralline alga exposed to acidified pH (7.4) or non-acidified pH (8.2) seawater at a constant temperature of 4°C. Within a period of only 14–35 days, shells of all four species held in pH 7.4 seawater had suffered significant dissolution. Despite calcite being 35% less soluble in seawater than aragonite, there was surprisingly, no consistent pattern of calcitic shells having slower dissolution rates than aragonitic shells. Outer surfaces of shells held in pH 7.4 seawater exhibited deterioration by day 35, and by day 56 there was exposure of aragonitic or calcitic prisms within the shell architecture of three of the macroinvertebrate species. Dissolution of coralline algae was confirmed by differences in weight loss in limpet shells with and without coralline algae. By day 56, thalli of the coralline alga held in pH 7.4 displayed a loss of definition of the conceptacle pores and cracking was evident at the zone of interface with limpet shells. Experimental studies are needed to evaluate whether there are adequate compensatory mechanisms in these and other calcified Antarctic benthic macroorganisms to cope with anticipated ocean acidification. In their absence, these organisms, and the communities they comprise, are likely to be among the first to experience the cascading impacts of ocean acidification.
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