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  20 Sep 2019

20 Sep 2019

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal BG and is expected to appear here in due course.

Elemental composition of invertebrates shells composed of different CaCO3 polymorphs at different ontogenetic stages: a case study from the brackish Gulf of Gdansk (the Baltic Sea)

Anna Piwoni-Piórewicz1, Stanislav Strekopytov2,a, Emma Humphreys-Williams2, and Piotr Kukliński1,3 Anna Piwoni-Piórewicz et al.
  • 1Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Powstańców Warszawy 55, 81-712 Sopot, Poland
  • 2Imaging and Analysis Centre, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK
  • 3Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK
  • apresent address: Inorganic Analysis, LGC Ltd, Queens Road, Teddington, UK

Abstract. In this study, the concentrations of 12 metals: Ca, Na, Sr, Mg, Ba, Mn, Cu, Pb, V, Y, U and Cd in shells of bivalve molluscs (aragonitic: Cerastoderma glaucum, Mya arenaria and Limecola balthica and bimineralic: Mytilus trossulus) and arthropods (calcitic: Amphibalanus improvisus) were obtained. The main goal was to determine the incorporation patterns of shells built with different calcium carbonate polymorphs. The role of potential biological control on the shell chemistry was assessed by comparing the concentrations of trace elements between younger and older individuals (different size classes). The potential impact of environmental factors on the observed elemental concentrations in the studied shells is discussed. Specimens were collected from brackish waters of the Baltic Sea (the Gulf of Gdansk). For every species, 40 individuals (ten in each size class) were selected. Pre-cleaned shells were analysed by ICP-OES and ICP-MS to determine the concentrations of metals.

The distributions of elements both differ between species and exhibit high intraspecific variability. Calcitic shells preferentially incorporated Mg > Sr > Na, aragonitic shells incorporated Na > Sr > Mg, and bimineralic shells accumulated Na approximately two times more intensively, than Mg and Sr which remained at similar levels. Among all species, the calcitic shells of A. improvisus most effectively concentrated the majority of the studied elements, especially Mg > Mn > Ba, which was contrary to the shells of aragonitic molluscs that contained the lowest levels of trace elements. The size-dependent distributions of elements in shells did not exhibit a consistent pattern. The highest significant differences were found for the bimineralic shells of M. trossulus, while the smallest were found for aragonitic shells; if any variability occurred, it was observed in heavy metals (Pb, Cd).

Our results indicate that elemental variability, especially that of Mg and Sr, is dominated by the properties of the crystal lattice. The inconsistent variability of trace element concentrations between species and within single populations supports the important role of species-specific biological control of the biomineralization process and indicates that environmental factors have a significant influence on the incorporation of trace elements into the shells.

Anna Piwoni-Piórewicz et al.

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Anna Piwoni-Piórewicz et al.

Anna Piwoni-Piórewicz et al.


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