Biologically mediated fabrics are disturbed sediment by organisms that resemble primary physical structures. In this aquaria-based study, the sand-sifting goby, Valenciennea puellaris, produced biogenic sedimentary structures resembling planar lamina and ripple cross lamina with grain sizes ranging from fine sand to gravel. Valenciennea puellaris moved and re-deposited fine- and coarse sand and gravel used in this study, but dug only in fine- to coarse sand. Gravel-sized particles were too large to pass through its gills and therefore the goby moved them individually. Through the bioresuspension behaviors of feeding, digging, and resting, the V. puellaris produces Piscichnus-like craters and moves about nine mouthfuls of sediment a minute, i.e., 0.18 cm3. The biogenic fabrics produced by V. puellaris in this study are similar to primary sedimentary fabrics produced by hydrologic flow. Similar behaviors and feeding styles are widespread and found in larger fish and marine mammals. While V. puellaris has only been around since the Eocene, burrowing Actinopterygians date back to 400 Ma, suggesting that similar biogenic sedimentary structures may have a long history in the geological record.
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Vol. 34 • No. 3