Incorporation of Na and S in bamboo coral skeletons.

Flöter, Sebastian, Fietzke, Jan , Gutjahr, Marcus , Nehrke, Gernot and Eisenhauer, Anton (2022) Incorporation of Na and S in bamboo coral skeletons. Open Access Chemical Geology, 597 . Art.Nr. 120795. DOI 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2022.120795.

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Ocean environmental conditions can be inferred from the chemical composition of bamboo coral skeletons. The high magnesium calcite internodes of these long-living octocorals may therefore represent a potential archive for seawater properties such as salinity or temperature where instrumental time series are absent. To extend these time series into the past using a natural archive the principles of temperature and salinity signal incorporation into cold-water coral skeletal material need to be investigated. Since skeletal Na and S concentrations have been proposed as environmental proxies, we mapped the spatial distribution and concentration of these elements in two Atlantic specimens of Keratoisis grayi (family Isididae). These measurements were conducted with an electron microprobe applying a spatial resolution of 4 μm. The mean apparent distribution coefficient of Na/Ca for the two samples was within 2.5 and 2.8*10−4, while that of S shows a similar depletion relative to seawater with 3.8 and 3.6*10−3. The two elements show an inverse correlation in bamboo coral skeletons. The mean apparent distribution coefficient of Na is similar to that of abiotic calcites. This similarity can be interpreted as the absence of significant vital effects for skeletal Na/Ca. Hence it corroborates the idea that the average skeletal composition of bamboo corals holds the potential to record past seawater conditions. In contrast, it appears unlikely that the spatial variations of the element distribution of seemingly simultaneously precipitated material along growth rings are exclusively controlled by environmental factors. We further exclude Rayleigh fractionation, ion-specific pumping, and Ca/proton exchange as the driver of Na and S distribution in bamboo corals. Instead, we adapt a calcification model originally proposed for scleractinians to bamboo corals. This model can explain the observed distribution of Na and S in the skeleton by a combination of Ca/proton pumping, bicarbonate active transport, and the formation of an organic skeletal matrix. The adapted model can further be used to predict the theoretical behaviour of other elements and disentangle vital effects from external factors influencing compositional features. It is therefore a useful tool for future studies on the potential of bamboo corals as environmental archives.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Bamboo coral, Cold-water coral, Sodium, Sulfur, Calcification, Biomineralisation
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS
Main POF Topic: PT6: Marine Life
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2022.120795
ISSN: 0009-2541
Date Deposited: 13 May 2022 11:55
Last Modified: 17 May 2022 12:51

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