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Extreme strontium concentrations reveal specific biomineralization pathways in certain coccolithophores with implications for the Sr/Ca paleoproductivity proxy

TitleExtreme strontium concentrations reveal specific biomineralization pathways in certain coccolithophores with implications for the Sr/Ca paleoproductivity proxy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsHermoso M, Lefeuvre B, Minoletti F, De Rafélis M
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume12
Pagination1–16
ISSN19326203
ISBN Number1111111111
KeywordsRCC1314, RCC1480
Abstract

The formation of the coccolith biominerals by a group of marine algae (the Coccolithophores) offers fascinating research avenues both from the biological and geological sides. It is surprising how biomineralisation by a key phytoplanktonic group remains underconstrained, yet is influential on ocean alkalinity and responsible for the built up of our paleoclimatic archive over the last 200 Myrs. Here, we report two close relative coccolith taxa exhibiting substantial bioaccumulation of strontium: Scyphosphaera and Pontosphaera grown in the laboratory or retrieved from Pliocene sediments. This strontium enrichment relative to calcium is one order of magnitude greater than reported in other coccoliths of the orders Isochrysidales and Coccolithales, and extends well beyond established controls on Sr/Ca ratios by temperature and growth rate. We discuss this prominent vital effect in relation with possible specific uptake of strontium relative to calcium from the extracellular environment to the coccolith vesicle in coccolithophores excreting very large scale coccoliths. The report of Sr-rich biominerals challenges our current understanding of the cellular acquisition and intracellular trafficking of alkaline earth cations in phytoplanktonic calcifying eukaryotic algae. The presence of Sr-rich coccolith species in the geological record has to be quantitatively considered in future Sr/Ca-based palaeoceanographic reconstruction.

DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0185655