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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Coccolithophores belong to the most abundant calcium carbonate mineralizing organisms. Coccolithophore biomineralization is a complex and highly regulated process, resulting in a product that strongly differs in its intricate morphology from the abiogenically produced mineral equivalent. Moreover, unlike extracellularly formed biological carbonate hard tissues, coccolith calcite is neither a hybrid composite, nor is it distinguished by a hierarchical microstructure. This is remarkable as the key to optimizing crystalline biomaterials for mechanical strength and toughness lies in the composite nature of the biological hard tissue and the utilization of specific microstructures. To obtain insight into the pathway of biomineralization of Emiliania huxleyi coccoliths, we examine intracrystalline nanostructural features of the coccolith calcite in combination with cell ultrastructural observations related to the formation of the calcite in the coccolith vesicle within the cell. With TEM diffraction and annular dark-field imaging, we prove the presence of planar imperfections in the calcite crystals such as planar mosaic block boundaries. As only minor misorientations occur, we attribute them to dislocation networks creating small-angle boundaries. Intracrystalline occluded biopolymers are not observed. Hence, in E. huxleyi calcite mosaicity is not caused by occluded biopolymers, as it is the case in extracellularly formed hard tissues of marine invertebrates, but by planar defects and dislocations which are typical for crystals formed by classical ion-by-ion growth mechanisms. Using cryo-preparation techniques for SEM and TEM, we found that the membrane of the coccolith vesicle and the outer membrane of the nuclear envelope are in tight proximity, with a well-controlled constant gap of ~4 nm between them. We describe this conspicuous connection as a not yet described interorganelle junction, the “nuclear envelope junction”. The narrow gap of this junction likely facilitates transport of Ca2+ ions from the nuclear envelope to the coccolith vesicle. On the basis of our observations, we propose that formation of the coccolith utilizes the nuclear envelope–endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-store of the cell for the transport of Ca2+ ions from the external medium to the coccolith vesicle and that E. huxleyi calcite forms by ion-by-ion growth rather than by a nanoparticle accretion mechanism.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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    Publication Date: 2018-06-05
    Description: Fossil carbonate skeletons of marine organisms are archives for understanding the development and evolution of palaeo-environments. However, the correct assessment of past environment dynamics is only possible when pristine skeletons and their biogenic characteristics are unequivocally distinguishable from diagenetically-alteredskeletal elements and non-biogenic features. In this study, we extend our work on diagenesis of biogenic aragonite (Casella et al. 2017) to the investigation of biogenic low-Mg calcite using brachiopod shells. We examined and compared microstructural characteristics inducedby laboratory-based alteration to structural features derived from diagenetic alteration in natural environments. We used four screening methods: cathodoluminescence (CL), cryogenic and conventional field emission-scanning electronmicroscopy (FE-SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD).We base our assessments of diagenetic alteration and overprint on measurements of, a) images of optical overprint signals, b) changes in calcite crystal orientation patterns, and c) crystal co-orientation statistics. According to the screening process, altered and overprinted samples define two groups. In Group 1 the entire shell is diagenetically overprinted, whereas in Group 2 the shell contains pristine as well as overprinted parts. In the case of Group 2 shells, alteration occurred either along the periphery of the shell including the primary layer or at the interior-facing surface of the fibrous/columnar layer. In addition, we observed an important mode of the overprinting process, namely the migration of diagenetic fluids through the endopunctae corroborated by mineral formation and overprinting in their immediate vicinity, while leaving shell parts between endopunctae in pristine condition. Luminescence (CL) and microstructural imaging (FE-SEM) screening give first-order observations of the degree of overprint as they cover macro-to micron scale alteration features. For a comprehensive assessment of diagenetic overprint these screening methods should be complemented by screening techniques such as EBSD and AFM. They visualise diagenetic changes at submicron and nanoscale levels depicting the replacement of pristine nanocomposite mesocrystal biocarbonate (NMB) by inorganic rhombohedral calcite (IRC). The integration of screening methods allows for the unequivocal identification of highly-detailed alteration features as well as an assessment of the degree of diagenetic alteration.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2017-12-07
    Description: Brachiopod shells are widely used as an archive to reconstruct elemental and isotopic composition of seawater. Studies, focused on oxygen and carbon isotopes over the last decades, are increasingly extending to the emerging calcium isotope system. To date, only little attention has been paid to test the reliability of fossil brachiopods on their modern counterparts. In this context, the present study investigates two modern brachiopods, Terebratulina septentrionalis (eastern Canada, 5–30 m depth, 7.1 °C seasonal temperature variation, two-layer shell) and Gryphus vitreus (northern Mediterranean, 200 m depth, constant all-year round temperature, three-layer shell). Both species were sampled along the ontogenetic growth direction and calcium, oxygen, and carbon isotopes as well as elemental concentration were measured. Calcium isotopes were analyzed on TIMS. The elemental composition was analyzed by LA-ICP-MS and ICP-AES. The results indicate an intra-specimen δ44/40Ca variation ranging from 0.16 to 0.33‰, pointing to a fairly homogenous distribution of calcium isotopes in brachiopod shells. However, in the light of the suggested 0.7‰ increase in calcium isotopes over the Phanerozoic such intra-specimen variations constrain ocean reconstruction. δ44/40Ca values of T. septentrionalis do not seem to be affected by growth rate. Calcium isotopic values of G. vitreus are heavy in the central part of the shell and trend towards lighter values in peripheral areas approaching the maximum isotopic composition of T. septentrionalis. The maximum inter-species δ44/40Ca difference of 0.62‰ between T. septentrionalis and G. vitreus indicates that care should be taken when using different taxa, species with different strontium content or brachiopods with specialized shell structure, such as G. vitreus, for ocean water reconstruction in terms of Ca isotopic composition. T. septentrionalis may record Ca isotopic fractionation related to seasonal seawater temperature variations in its shell but this is difficult to resolve at the current analytical precision. Average δ18O-derived temperatures of the two investigated species are close to on-site measured temperatures.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 6
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    PANGAEA
    In:  Supplement to: Hahn, Sabine; Rodolfo-Metalpa, Riccardo; Griesshaber, Erika; Schmahl, Wolfgang W; Buhl, Dieter; Hall-Spencer, Jason M; Baggini, Cecilia; Fehr, Karl T; Immenhauser, Adrian (2012): Marine bivalve shell geochemistry and ultrastructure from modern low pH environments: environmental effect versus experimental bias. Biogeosciences, 9, 1897-1914, https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-9-1897-2012
    Publication Date: 2019-02-13
    Description: Bivalve shells can provide excellent archives of past environmental change but have not been used to interpret ocean acidification events. We investigated carbon, oxygen and trace element records from different shell layers in the mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis combined with detailed investigations of the shell ultrastructure. Mussels from the harbour of Ischia (Mediterranean, Italy) were transplanted and grown in water with mean pHT 7.3 and mean pHT 8.1 near CO2 vents on the east coast of the island. Most prominently, the shells recorded the shock of transplantation, both in their shell ultrastructure, textural and geochemical record. Shell calcite, precipitated subsequently under acidified seawater responded to the pH gradient by an in part disturbed ultrastructure. Geochemical data from all test sites show a strong metabolic effect that exceeds the influence of the low-pH environment. These field experiments showed that care is needed when interpreting potential ocean acidification signals because various parameters affect shell chemistry and ultrastructure. Besides metabolic processes, seawater pH, factors such as salinity, water temperature, food availability and population density all affect the biogenic carbonate shell archive.
    Type: Dataset
    Format: application/zip, 4 datasets
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    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: The assessment of diagenetic overprint on microstructural and geochemical data gained from fossil archives is of fundamental importance for understanding palaeoenvironments. The correct reconstruction of past environmental dynamics is only possible when pristine skeletons are unequivocally distinguished from altered skeletal elements. Our previous studies show (i) that replacement of biogenic carbonate by inorganic calcite occurs via an interface-coupled dissolution–reprecipitation mechanism. (ii) A comprehensive understanding of alteration of the biogenic skeleton is only given when structural changes are assessed on both, the micrometre as well as on the nanometre scale. In the present contribution we investigate experimental hydrothermal alteration of six different modern biogenic carbonate materials to (i) assess their potential for withstanding diagenetic overprint and to (ii) find characteristics for the preservation of their microstructure in the fossil record. Experiments were performed at 175°C with a 100 mM NaCl + 10 mM MgCl2 alteration solution and lasted for up to 35 days. For each type of microstructure we (i) examine the evolution of biogenic carbonate replacement by inorganic calcite, (ii) highlight different stages of inorganic carbonate formation, (iii) explore microstructural changes at different degrees of alteration, and (iv) perform a statistical evaluation of microstructural data to highlight changes in crystallite size between the pristine and the altered skeletons. We find that alteration from biogenic aragonite to inorganic calcite proceeds along pathways where the fluid enters the material. It is fastest in hard tissues with an existing primary porosity and a biopolymer fabric within the skeleton that consists of a network of fibrils. The slowest alteration kinetics occurs when biogenic nacreous aragonite is replaced by inorganic calcite, irrespective of the mode of assembly of nacre tablets. For all investigated biogenic carbonates we distinguish the following intermediate stages of alteration: (i) decomposition of biopolymers and the associated formation of secondary porosity, (ii) homoepitactic overgrowth with preservation of the original phase leading to amalgamation of neighbouring mineral units (i.e. recrystallization by grain growth eliminating grain boundaries), (iii) deletion of the original microstructure, however, at first, under retention of the original mineralogical phase, and (iv) replacement of both, the pristine microstructure and original phase with the newly formed abiogenic product. At the alteration front we find between newly formed calcite and reworked biogenic aragonite the formation of metastable Mg-rich carbonates with a calcite-type structure and compositions ranging from dolomitic to about 80mol % magnesite. This high-Mg calcite seam shifts with the alteration front when the latter is displaced within the unaltered biogenic aragonite. For all investigated biocarbonate hard tissues we observe the destruction of the microstructure first, and, in a second step, the replacement of the original with the newly formed phase.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Shells of brachiopods are excellent archives for environmental reconstructions in the recent and distant past as their microstructure and geochemistry respond to climate and environmental forcings. We studied the morphology and size of the basic structural unit, the secondary layer fibre, of the shells of several extant brachiopod taxa to derive a model correlating microstructural patterns to environmental conditions. Twenty-one adult specimens of six recent brachiopod species adapted to different environmental conditions, from Antarctica, to New Zealand, to the Mediterranean Sea, were chosen for microstructural analysis using SEM, TEM and EBSD. We conclude that: 1) there is no significant difference in the shape and size of the fibres between ventral and dorsal valves, 2) there is an ontogenetic trend in the shape and size of the fibres, as they become larger, wider, and flatter with increasing age. This indicates that the fibrous layer produced in the later stages of growth, which is recommended by the literature to be the best material for geochemical analyses, has a different morphostructure and probably a lower organic content than that produced earlier in life. In two species of the same genus living in seawater with different temperature and carbonate saturation state, a relationship emerged between the microstructure and environmental conditions. Fibres of the polar Liothyrella uva tend to be smaller, rounder and less convex than those of the temperate Liothyrella neozelanica, suggesting a relationship between microstructural size, shell organic matter content, ambient seawater temperature and calcite saturation state.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: The present data in brief article provides additional data and information to our research article “Micro- and nanostructures reflect the degree of diagenetic alteration in modern and fossil brachiopod shell calcite: a multi-analytical screening approach (CL, FE-SEM, AFM, EBSD)” [1] (Casella et al.). We present fibre morphology, nano- and microstructure, as well as calcite crystal orientations and textures found in pristine, experimentally altered (hydrothermal and thermal), and diagenetically overprinted brachiopod shells. Combination of the screening tools AFM, FE-SEM, and EBSD allows to observe a significant change in microstructural and textural features with an increasing degree of laboratory-based and naturally occurring diagenetic alteration. Amalgamation of neighbouring fibres was observed on the micrometre scale level, whereas progressive decomposition of biopolymers in the shells and fusion of nanoparticulate calcite crystals was detected on the nanometre scale. The presented data in this article and the study described in [1] allows for qualitative information on the degree of diagenetic alteration of fossil archives used for palaeoclimate reconstruction.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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