Journal article

Biological forcing controls the chemistry of reef-building coral skeleton

[1] We present analyses of major elements C and Ca and trace elements N, S, Mg and Sr in a Porites sp. exoskeleton with a spatial resolution better than similar to 150 nm. Trace element variations are evaluated directly against the ultrastructure of the skeleton and are ascribed to dynamic biological forcing. Individual growth layers in the bulk fibrous aragonite skeleton form on sub-daily timescales. Magnesium concentration variations are dramatically correlated with the growth layers, but are uncorrelated with Sr concentration variations. Observed (sub) seasonal relationships between water temperature and skeletal trace-element chemistry are secondary, mediated by sensitive biological processes to which classical thermodynamic formalism does not apply.


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