Patterns of Magnesium-Calcite Distribution in the Skeleton of Some Polar Bryozoan Species

Mineralogy of Polar Bryozoan Skeletons
  • Jennifer LoxtonEmail author
  • Piotr Kuklinski
  • James M. Mair
  • Mary Spencer Jones
  • Joanne S. Porter
Part of the Lecture Notes in Earth System Sciences book series (LNESS, volume 143)


Polar marine environments are already starting to exhibit the effects of climate change. The Arctic is the most rapidly warming place on Earth, and changes of the seawater chemistry of polar oceans have been recorded. Calcifying Bryozoa have diverse skeletal mineralogies making them an ideal model for investigating differences caused by environmental change. The aim of this study is to quantify the skeletal mineralogical diversity of polar bryozoans using X-ray diffraction (XRD). Six species of erect Bryozoa were analysed, three Arctic and three Antarctic species. Within each of the three species from each region, one has a cemented attachment point, one has flexible growth and the third is attached by chitinous rootlets. The analysis shows no significant difference in Mg-calcite distribution along the length of the six species but does show species-specific variation in both the consistency of Mg-calcite distribution along the length of a colony and the relationship between concentration of Mg-calcite in the root and growing tip. Analysis shows a statistically significant trend of increasing Mg-calcite concentration with increasing temperature. This adds further data to a growing body of published evidence for this mineralogy trend. The results of this study suggest that if bryozoan species are to be used as indicators of environmental change then it will be critical to have robust, replicated data of species-specific profiles for Mg-calcite distribution. This data, viewed alongside published mineralogy trends, may allow the use of skeletal mineralogy as a register of environmental effects and may enable monitoring of future impacts of climate change in marine benthic ecosystems.


Polar Mineralogy Magnesium Skeleton Bryozoan 



We would like to thank Jens Najorka and Gordon Cressey (Natural History Museum, London) for their assistance with XRD and mineralogical analysis. The authors would also like to thank David Barnes (British Antarctic Survey) and Peter Hayward (Swansea University) for their expertise on Antarctic species and regions. We would like also to acknowledge the voyage leader, Martin Riddle, the crew and the captain of the RV Aurora Australis. The CAML-CEAMARC cruise of RV Aurora Australis (IPY project n° 53) were supported by the Australian Antarctic Division, the Japanese Science Foundation, the French polar institute IPEV and the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle. This study has been completed thanks to grants from the Heriot-Watt Alumni Fund, the John Ray Trust and grant provided to PK by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (N N304 404038).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Loxton
    • 1
    Email author
  • Piotr Kuklinski
    • 2
  • James M. Mair
    • 1
  • Mary Spencer Jones
    • 3
  • Joanne S. Porter
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology, School of Life SciencesHeriot-Watt UniversityEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Institute of OceanologyPolish Academy of SciencesSopotPoland
  3. 3.Zoology DepartmentNatural History MuseumLondonUK

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