Registered users receive a variety of benefits including the ability to customize email alerts, create favorite journals list, and save searches.
Please note that a BioOne web account does not automatically grant access to full-text content. An institutional or society member subscription is required to view non-Open Access content.
Contact email@example.com with any questions.
A new graphical representation of the taphonomy of skeletal carbonates observed at the thin-section scale is proposed, demonstrating their utility in drawing information about the effects of early sea-floor processes on the post-mortem fate of fossil hard parts. The graphical representations consist of two-axis diagrams, which integrate the degree of fragmentation, abrasion, bioerosion, and encrustation as primary descriptors of the average state of fossil remains in a Miocene limestone section from southeastern North Island of New Zealand. Numerical values are expressed as percentages that represent the contribution of each factor to alteration (i.e., the four factors represent up to 25% each of the total alteration), the sum of values quantifying the amount of departure from pristine condition. Data are plotted in a cumulative form that reflects synergistic action of sea-floor processes towards hard parts destruction. One important virtue of this graphical representation is that the nature, degree, and variability of taphonomic alteration can be visualized and compared in a single diagram for several grain categories within a sample, and between samples. The proposed scheme is particularly flexible because more than four taphonomic categories can be integrated, independently from the number of alteration classes specific to each category, provided conversion of scores obtained in each taphonomic categories into percentages.
Compiled results of such taphonomic analyses could be used in the future to identify specific depositional conditions, such as hydraulic regime, transportation, and residence time on the sea floor (a potential proxy to net accumulation rates).
Lobatus gigas, the queen conch, is a central component of Caribbean cuisine but over-fishing of juveniles has threatened the stability of wild populations. Strombid gastropods, upon reaching sexual maturity, cease growing along the shell length axis and continue growing in width via a flared and thickened shell lip. This morphology serves as a useful indicator of an individual's sexual maturity. Here we examine temporal trends in population demographics, size, and morphology of harvested L. gigas individuals over the last ∼1 ky from San Salvador Island, the Bahamas to quantify the dynamics of human-induced stress on the local queen conch fishery. We collected 284 human-harvested individuals from shell middens at seven localities, measured seven morphological variables, and classified the specimens as either adult or juvenile. We randomly selected 64 of these shells for rapid AMS radiocarbon dating in order to establish three geochronological bins: Lucayan (Pre-European invasion, 1492 CE), Modern (∼102 y), and Global (∼101 y). The proportion of juveniles harvested increased significantly from 47% (Lucayan) to 61% (Modern) to 68% (Global) suggesting increasing pressure on the fishery through time. Patterns in body size and morphology diverge between adults and juveniles and are likely the result of an increase in the proportion of harvested juveniles, the selection of smaller juveniles through time, and possibly changes in fishing methods. This size selective predation did not result in the suppression of adult body size as found in other studies. Geohistorical data, such as these, are vital for providing long term ecological context for addressing anthropogenic ecological degradation and are central to the conservation paleobiology approach.
Microbialites are common carbonate structures in cryptic niches of marine environments throughout geological time. In this research we compare the microbialites of small bioconstructions (biostalactites) of modern submarine caves of Sicily with those developed in small crypts of Carnian patch reefs of the Dolomite Mountains (Heiligkreuz Formation, Alpe di Specie) using Raman spectroscopy, a method that allows in situ determination of the organic content of microbial components. This methodology partly solves the uncertainty of geomicrobiological studies that use bulk measurements (i.e., biomarker analyses), which make it difficult to associate mineral precipitates with a specific microbial process. In the modern marine caves, the complex biotic relationships among skeletal organisms (mainly serpulids) and microbial communities produced biostalactites in which microbially induced biomineralization is the consequence of autotrophic and chemoheterotrophic bacterial activities. Sulfate-reducing bacteria, fed by metazoan organic matter, flourish in millimetric oxygen-depleted cavities of the skeletal framework, and induce autochthonous micrite deposition and early stabilization of the biostalactites. Similar processes have been interpreted to induce the deposition of the microbialites in the Upper Triassic patch reefs of the Dolomites. These small shallow water reefs, made up mainly of scleractinian corals, sponges and red algae, hold a skeletal framework rich in millimeter- to centimeter-size cavities, ideal cryptic niches for growth of microbial communities. Specific sulfate-reducing bacteria biomarkers are first identified using bulk measurements obtained by solvent extraction. The subsequent in situ characterization of organic compounds through micro-Raman spectroscopy indicates the same biogeochemical signatures of the microbialites within the cryptic cavities of the biostalactites of modern marine caves as those inside the skeletal framework of Carnian patch reefs. These data, showing the same processes in Triassic and modern cryptic microenvironments, is evidence that the microbially mediated precipitation in confined environments is a process independent of geological time that further investigation may be able to test.