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International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 582–592 | Cite as

Compositional diversity of soluble mineralizing matrices in some recent coral skeletons compared to fine-scale growth structures of fibres: discussion of consequences for biomineralization and diagenesis

  • J.-P. Cuif
  • Y. Dauphin
  • P. Gautret
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

 In contrast to the purely crystalline model of the coral fibre, a transversal zonation is made visible within fibres by specific preparations (enzymatic or light acidic etchings). This growth zonation that corresponds to the successive positions of the secretory ectoderm during septal development shows that crystallization of coral fibre is controlled not only by an external organic coating of fibres, but also includes intra-fibrous organic components. This results in a micron-scaled internal structure of fibres, with a noticeable diversity depending on species. In parallel, soluble matrices also exhibit significant differences, although the global high content in acidic amino acids is always observed. Gathering these two sets of data allows the current ideas concerning structures and growth modalities of coral septa to be discussed. Basically, the respective role of centres of calcification and fibres during septal development appears clearly different from the current ideas, resulting in significant change in interpretation of coral structures, with concerns in both skeleton formation and understanding of diagenetic processes.

Key words Scleractinia Fibre growth patterns Mineralizing matrix compositions Centres of calcification Septal development 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • J.-P. Cuif
    • 1
  • Y. Dauphin
    • 1
  • P. Gautret
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculté des Sciences, Bâtiment 504, Géologie – UMR 8616 CNRS, F-91405 Orsay cedex, France Tel.: +33-1-69156741, Fax: +33-1-69156123 e-mail: cuif@geophy.geol.u-psud.frFR

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