14 Aug 2023
 | 14 Aug 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Origin and role of non-skeletal carbonate in coralligenous build-ups: new geobiological perspectives in the biomineralization processes

Mara Cipriani, Carmine Apollaro, Daniela Basso, Pietro Bazzicalupo, Marco Bertolino, Valentina Alice Bracchi, Fabio Bruno, Gabriele Costa, Rocco Dominici, Alessandro Gallo, Maurizio Muzzupappa, Antonietta Rosso, Rossana Sanfilippo, Francesco Sciuto, Giovanni Vespasiano, and Adriano Guido

Abstract. The coralligenous build-ups located in Mediterranean shelf in front of Marzamemi (SE – Sicily, Italy) represent useful natural examples to study the relationship between skeletal organisms and non-skeletal components in marine bioconstructions. Coralligenous build-ups are formed in open marine systems and their comparison with coeval bioconstructions (biostalactites) of confined environments, like submarine caves, allows depicting the complex interactions between metazoans and microbial communities in the formations of recent bioconstructions in different Mediterranean settings. In this study, two coralligenous build-ups were characterized in terms of organisms and sediments involved in their formation. The framework mainly consists of coralline algae and subordinate bryozoans and serpulids. Sponges affect the general morphology of the bioconstructions both interacting with skeletonised organisms and through bioerosion activity. The micrite (microcrystalline calcite) is a minor component of the build-ups and consists of two types: autochthonous (in situ) and allochthonous (detrital). Fine autochthonous micrite mineralized directly inside the framework cavities and shows aphanitic or peloidal fabric, produced by organomineralization processes of soft sponge tissues and microbial metabolic activity, respectively. The detrital micrite occurring inside cavities derives from external sources or erosion processes of the bioconstructions themselves. This component has been classified as organic or inorganic based on the organic matter contents deduced by UV-Epifluorescence. The minor amount of microbialites in the coralligenous compared to cave biostalactites could derive from the abundance of sponges that compete with carbonatogenic bacteria for the same cryptic spaces. The sharing of a similar relationship between sponges and microbial communities by coralligenous concretion and biotic crusts of particular submarine caves suggests that this competition is not habitat-specific. On the contrary, it may develop in a range of environmental settings, from open to cryptic systems, and could be used to clarify the role of metazoans vs microbialites in palaeoecological reconstructions.

Mara Cipriani et al.

Status: open (until 06 Nov 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2023-115', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Aug 2023 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Adriano Guido, 12 Sep 2023 reply
      • RC2: 'Reply on AC1', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 Sep 2023 reply
  • RC3: 'Comment on bg-2023-115', Fritz Neuweiler, 12 Sep 2023 reply

Mara Cipriani et al.

Mara Cipriani et al.


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Short summary
Who construct the build-ups of the Mediterranean Sea? What is the role of skeletal and soft-bodied organisms in these bioconstructions? Do bacteria play a role in the formation of these structures? In this research for the first time the coralligenous of the Mediterranean shelf are studied from a geobiological point of view with an interdisciplinary biological and geological approach, highlighting important biotic relationships that can be used in interpreting the fossil build-up systems.