A comparison of SNARF-1 and skeletal δ11B estimates of calcification media pH in tropical coral
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Coral skeletal boron geochemistry offers opportunities to probe the pH of the calcification media (pHCM) of modern and fossil specimens, to estimate past changes in seawater pH and to explore the biomineralisation response to future ocean acidification. In this research we grew 2 Stylophora pistillata coral microcolonies over glass coverslips to allow analysis of the pH sensitive dye SNARF-1, in the extracellular calcification medium at the growing edge of colonies where the first aragonite crystals are formed, under both light and dark conditions. We use secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to measure the boron isotopic composition (δ11B) of the skeleton close to the growth edge after 2 to 3 days of additional calcification had enlarged the crystals until they joined, generating a continuous sheet of aragonite. Mean skeletal δ11B-pHCM estimates are higher than those of by SNARF-1 by 0.35 to 0.44 pH units. These differences either reflect real variations in the pH of the calcification media associated with each measurement technique or indicate other changes in the biomineralisation process which influence skeletal δ11B. SNARF-1 measures directly the pH of the extracellular calcification medium while skeletal δ11B analyses aragonite potentially formed via both extracellular and intracellular biomineralisation pathways. Analysis of a third coral specimen, also growing on a glass slide but with a 5 cm long branch, indicated good agreement between the δ11B value of the apex of the branch and the skeletal growth edge. The tissues overlying both these regions were transparent indicating they had low symbiont densities. This suggests that the biomineralisation process is broadly comparable between these sites and that studies growing corals over glass slides/coverslips provide representative data for the colony apex.
Allison , N , Venn , A , Tambutte , S , Tambutte , E , Wilckens , F , Kasemann , S & Edinburgh Ion Microprobe Facility (EIMF) 2023 , ' A comparison of SNARF-1 and skeletal δ 11 B estimates of calcification media pH in tropical coral ' , Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta , vol. 355 , pp. 184-194 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2023.07.005
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
DescriptionFunding: SIMS analyses were supported by the Natural Environment Research Council, UK (IMF689/0519).
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