The biogeochemistry of insectivorous cave guano: a case study from insular Southeast Asia

Wurster, Christopher M., Munksgaard, Niels, Zwart, Costijn, and Bird, Michael (2015) The biogeochemistry of insectivorous cave guano: a case study from insular Southeast Asia. Biogeochemistry, 124 (1-3). pp. 163-175.

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Cave guano derived from insectivorous bats and birds contain unique geochemical and mineralogical signatures. We investigated the mineralogy, pH, C, N and metal abundance patterns of cave guano spatially and temporally (with depth) along a W–E transect in Malaysia and Palawan from five remote cave sites, each housing large populations of bats and Aerodramus spp.(cave swiftlets). Guano deposits were rich in phosphate and/or sulphate minerals (e.g., gypsum, bassanite) with leucophosphite, spheniscidite, and variscite present in most profiles. Metal abundances measured from modern and ancient bat guano revealed high concentrations of transition metals relative to the local environment. Highly enriched metals, however, were associated with phosphate rather than sulphate minerals. Copper and Zn were enriched in all profiles, whereas other metals were associated with specific caves consistent with known local mineral resources. For example, Sn, Pb, and Rb were particularly enriched in Batu Cave, located in the Peninsular Malaysian granitic tin belt, whereas Ni and Cr were high in regions associated with ultramafic ophiolites and Ni-laterites found on Palawan.

Item ID: 42267
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-515X
Funders: National Education Research Council (NERC), Australian Research Council (ARC), College of Science, Technology and Engineering, James Cook University (JCU), National Geographic Society (NGS)
Projects and Grants: NERC grant NE/D001501, NERC grant NE/D01185x/1, ARC Federation Fellowship FF0883221, ARC Discovery Grant DP140101319, NGS Scientific Research Grant 8845-10
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2016 01:11
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0402 Geochemistry > 040299 Geochemistry not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8401 Mineral Exploration > 840199 Mineral Exploration not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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