Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 15;6:27579. doi: 10.1038/srep27579.

A unique coral biomineralization pattern has resisted 40 million years of major ocean chemistry change.

Author information

1
Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, PL-00-818 Warsaw, Poland.
2
Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche e Geologiche, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Via Campi 103, 41125 Modena, Italy.
3
Biodiversity &Geosciences Program, Queensland Museum, South Brisbane, Qld 4101, Australia.
4
University of Washington, School of Oceanography, Box 357940, WA 98195-7940, Seattle, USA.
5
Department of Chemistry, University of Warsaw, Pasteura 1, 02-093 Warsaw, Poland.
6
MCAM UMR7245 Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle - CNRS, Sorbonne-Universités, Paris, France.
7
The Mina &Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Science, Bar-Ilan University, 52900 Ramat-Gan, Israel.
8
Institut für Geologie, Mineralogie und Geophysik, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, D-44780 Bochum, Germany.
9
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, The Weizmann Institute of Science, P.O. Box 26, 76100 Rehovot, Israel.
10
Laboratory for Biological Geochemistry, School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
11
Center for Advanced Surface Analysis, Institute of Earth Sciences, Université de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.

Abstract

Today coral reefs are threatened by changes to seawater conditions associated with rapid anthropogenic global climate change. Yet, since the Cenozoic, these organisms have experienced major fluctuations in atmospheric CO2 levels (from greenhouse conditions of high pCO2 in the Eocene to low pCO2 ice-house conditions in the Oligocene-Miocene) and a dramatically changing ocean Mg/Ca ratio. Here we show that the most diverse, widespread, and abundant reef-building coral genus Acropora (20 morphological groups and 150 living species) has not only survived these environmental changes, but has maintained its distinct skeletal biomineralization pattern for at least 40 My: Well-preserved fossil Acropora skeletons from the Eocene, Oligocene, and Miocene show ultra-structures indistinguishable from those of extant representatives of the genus and their aragonitic skeleton Mg/Ca ratios trace the inferred ocean Mg/Ca ratio precisely since the Eocene. Therefore, among marine biogenic carbonate fossils, well-preserved acroporid skeletons represent material with very high potential for reconstruction of ancient ocean chemistry.

PMID:
27302371
PMCID:
PMC4908604
DOI:
10.1038/srep27579
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center