Influence of seawater saturation state on the Phanerozoic diversity of calcified marine algae and invertebrates
18/12/2004 00:00 | Durée 00:14:46

Intervenants : Robert Riding , School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3YE, UK .  

Calcification in many marine algae and invertebrates is biologically induced rather than controlled. It can therefore be expected that secular variation in seawater saturation state for CaCO3 minerals should have influenced the long-term history of organisms that biologically induce, rather than closely control, their calcification. Comparison of calculated seawater saturation state with patterns of marine calcified organisms during the Phanerozoic Eon suggests that the diversity of organisms with biologically induced calcification, such as chlorophytes, corals and sponges, increased during periods of elevated saturation state and declined when saturation state was reduced. In contrast, organisms with relatively controlled calcification, such as molluscs, brachiopods, bryozoans, and echinoderms, appear to have been relatively unaffected by saturation state. This indicates that CaCO3 availability —governed by saturation state—has significantly influenced the diversity of organisms with biologically induced calcification. This effect involves many tropical marine algae and invertebrates, especially those that are most involved in reef building. Thus, despite its apparent abundance, CaCO3 has been so widely employed in biomineralization by aquatic organisms during the past ~550 million years that it has constituted a limiting resource, partitioned between organisms that biologically control and biologically induce their calcification, with the surplus being inorganically precipitated.