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HERMANS J., DUBOIS Ph., ANDRÉ L., VACELET J. and WILLENZ Ph. (2009)

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

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of United Kingdom, 90(4):749-754.

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 mm/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.
Animals, Research

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