Bioerosion and micritization in the deep sea coraldesmophyllum cristagalli Journal Articles uri icon

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  • An assemblage of coral skeletons of the species Desmophyllum cristagalli were obtained from the top of Orphan Knoll, 550 km northeast of Newfoundland, from depths of approximately 1600 and 1800 m. The corals were observed for their macro- and micro-boring assemblages, and the boring morphologies documented, using binocular and scanning electron microscopy. Samples of coral were embedded with resin and etched for examination of the micro-boring assemblages.

    The largest volumetric amount of skeletal material removed was by sponges forming Entobia. This further corroborates the assumption that various species of boring sponges are distributed ubiquitously throughout a wide bathymetric range.

    Four distinct fungal forms were found, two tubular forms interpreted to be hyphal filaments and two bulbous forms interpreted to be sporangia. These forms were described on the basis of their shape, size, mode of branching, association with other structures and texture. They were then compared to other micro-boring assemblages found in previous studies from various bathymetric ranges. Some forms described in this study were found to be similar to forms described in other studies. Other forms in this study were not found to be documented. It is suggested, therefore, that certain forms, as well as low ichnodiversity, may indicate deeper water environments.

    Destructive micritization structures were also found in resin casts as well as in thin section. The extent of micritization may indicate the intensity of the parameters at the substrate that affect carbonate dissolution, such as CaCO3 and CO2 concentrations, pH, temperature, and salinity. It would therefore indicate the ambient water conditions at the substrate. If a sufficiently large database could be obtained, as well as distinct separation of the parameters responsible for carbonate dissolution, micritization may be used in a mapping of the carbonate compensation depth through time and depth ranges.

publication date

  • January 1998

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