Skeletal mineralogy of newly settling Acropora millepora (Scleractinia) coral recruits

Clode, P.L., Lema, K., Saunders, M., and Weiner, S. (2011) Skeletal mineralogy of newly settling Acropora millepora (Scleractinia) coral recruits. Coral Reefs, 30 (1). pp. 1-8.

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Knowledge of skeletogenesis in scleractinian corals is central to reconstructing past ocean and climate histories, assessing and counteracting future climate and ocean acidification impacts upon coral reefs, and determining the taxonomy and evolutionary path of the Scleractinia. To better understand skeletogenesis and mineralogy in extant scleractinian corals, we have investigated the nature of the initial calcium carbonate skeleton deposited by newly settling coral recruits. Settling Acropora millepora larvae were sampled daily for 10 days from initial attachment, and the carbonate mineralogy of their newly deposited skeletons was investigated. Bulk analyses using Raman and infrared spectroscopic methods revealed that the skeletons were predominantly comprised of aragonite, with no evidence of calcite or an amorphous precursor phase, although presence of the latter cannot be discounted. Sensitive selected area electron diffraction analyses of sub-micron areas of skeletal regions further consolidated these data. These findings help to address the uncertainty surrounding reported differences in carbonate mineralogy between larval and adult extant coral skeletons by indicating that skeletons of new coral recruits share the same aragonitic mineralogy as those of their mature counterparts. In this respect, we can expect that skeletogenesis in both larval and mature growth stages of scleractinian corals will be similarly affected by ocean acidification and predicted environmental changes.

Item ID: 19982
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: larvae, biomineral, calcium carbonate, calcite, amorphous precursor, calcification
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2012 07:08
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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