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Growth rate and chemical features of the massive calcium carbonate skeleton of Petrobiona massiliana (Baeriida: Calcaronea: Calcispongiae)

  • Julie Hermans (a1) (a2), Philippe Dubois (a2), Luc Andre (a3), Jean Vacelet (a4) and Philippe Willenz (a1)...
Abstract

In addition to the spicules typically produced by sponges, about twenty hypercalcified species belonging to both classes Demospongiae and Calcispongiae secrete a massive basal calcareous skeleton composed of calcite or aragonite. Skeletal growth rates and growth mechanisms are still poorly known in those hypercalcified Calcispongiae. In situ calcein staining experimentation on the Mediterranean calcisponge Petrobiona massiliana revealed a mean annual growth rate of the massive skeleton of 236 µm/y (±90). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed that some spicules are entrapped within the massive skeleton (a solid mass forming apical crests with multidirectional growth axes) during its formation. Whole actines were observed within the massive skeleton of fractured specimens, indicating that they do not dissolve after entrapping. Calcein incorporation bands seen through epifluorescence microscopy and SEM morphological observations of the skeletal surface revealed cone shaped protuberances corresponding to active growth areas. A spatially discontinuous growth was highlighted, but the annual growth rates were similar at the tip of crests and at the bottom of depressions separating them. The skeleton of P. massiliana is composed of magnesium calcite with strontium as the main trace element. Significant differences in skeletal chemistry of specimens collected in different Mediterranean locations revealed a possible temperature dependence of Mg/Ca. Although such temperature signature exists in the massive skeleton of P. massiliana, its use as an accurate environmental recorder is limited by several factors including multidirectional and spatially discontinuous growth.

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Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: J. Hermans, Marine Biology Laboratory, Université libre de Bruxelles, CP 160/15, Avenue F.D. Rossevelt 50, B-1050, Belgium email: juherman@ulb.ac.be
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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
  • ISSN: 0025-3154
  • EISSN: 1469-7769
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-marine-biological-association-of-the-united-kingdom
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