Elemental and Isotopic Incorporation into the Aragonitic Shells of Arctica Islandica: Insights from Temperature Controlled Experiments

Friday, 19 December 2014: 8:15 AM
Alan D Wanamaker, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, United States and David P Gillikin, Union College, Geology, Schenectady, NY, United States
The long-lived ocean quahog, Arctica islandica, is a fairly well developed and tested marine proxy archive, however, the utility of elemental ratios in A. islandica shell material as environmental proxies remains questionable. To further evaluate the influence of seawater temperature on elemental and isotopic incorporation during biomineralization, A. islandica shells were grown at constant temperatures under two regimes during a 16-week period from March 27 to July 21, 2011. Seawater from the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine was pumped into temperature and flow controlled tanks that were exposed to ambient food and salinity conditions. A total of 20 individual juvenile clams with an average shell height of 36 mm were stained with calcein (a commonly used biomarker) and cultured at 10.3 ± 0.3 °C for six weeks. After this, shell heights were measured and the clams were again stained with calcein and cultured at 15.0 ± 0.4 °C for an additional 9.5 weeks. The average shell growth during the first phase of the experiment was 2.4 mm with a linear extension rate of 0.40 mm/week. The average shell growth during the second phase of the experiment was 3.2 mm with an extension rate of 0.34 mm/week. Average salinity values were 30.2 ± 0.7 and 30.7 ±0.7 in the first and second phases of the experiment, respectively. Oxygen isotopes from the cultured seawater were collected throughout the experiment and provide the basis for establishing if shells grew in oxygen isotopic equilibrium. Elemental ratios (primarily Ba/Ca, Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca) in the aragonitic shells were determined via laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), while stable oxygen and carbon isotope ratios were measured using continuous flow isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Continuous sampling within and across the temperature conditions (from 10 °C to 15 °C) coupled with the calcein markings provides the ability to place each sample into a precise temporal framework. The results from these culture experiments will provide insight on biomineralization processes in A. islandica and further establish the utility of this archive in environmental studies.