Articles | Volume 12, issue 18
Biogeosciences, 12, 5515–5522, 2015
Biogeosciences, 12, 5515–5522, 2015

Technical note 28 Sep 2015

Technical note | 28 Sep 2015

Technical Note: Towards resolving in situ, centimeter-scale location and timing of biomineralization in calcareous meiobenthos – the calcein–osmotic pump method

J. M. Bernhard1, W. G. Phalen2, A. McIntyre-Wressnig1, F. Mezzo3,a, J. C. Wit1, M. Jeglinski1, and H. L. Filipsson4 J. M. Bernhard et al.
  • 1Geology and Geophysics Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
  • 2University of Georgia, Department of Geology, 210 Field Street, Athens, GA 30602, USA
  • 3University of Bologna, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences – BiGeA, Via Selmi 3, 40126, Bologna, Italy
  • 4Department of Geology, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, 223 62 Lund, Sweden
  • anow at: Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Gregor Mendel-Straße 33, 1180 Vienna, Austria

Abstract. Insights into oceanographic environmental conditions such as paleoproductivity, deep-water temperatures, salinity, ice volumes, and nutrient cycling have all been obtained from geochemical analyses of biomineralized carbonate of marine organisms. However, we cannot fully understand geochemical proxy incorporation and the fidelity of such in species until we better understand fundamental aspects of their ecology such as where and when these (micro)organisms calcify. Here, we present an innovative method using osmotic pumps and the fluorescent marker calcein to help identify where and when calcareous meiofauna calcify in situ. Method development initially involved juvenile quahogs (Mercenaria mercenaria); subsequent method refinement involved a neritic benthic foraminiferal community. Future applications of this method will allow determining the in situ growth rate in calcareous organisms and provide insights about microhabitats where paleoceanographically relevant benthic foraminifera actually calcify.

Short summary
We present an innovative method using osmotic pumps and the fluorescent marker calcein to help identify where and when calcareous bottom-dwelling organisms mineralize in sediments. These organisms, and their geochemical signatures in their carbonate, are the ocean’s storytellers helping us understand past marine conditions. For many species, the timing and location of their calcite growth is not known. Knowing this will enable us to reconstruct past marine environments with greater accuracy.
Final-revised paper