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Marine Biology

, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 235–246 | Cite as

An exploratory study with the proton microprobe of the ontogenetic distribution of 16 elements in the shell of living oysters (Crassostrea virginica)

  • M. R. Carriker
  • C. P. Swann
  • J. W. Ewart
Article

Abstract

Study of the chemical composition of shell of exoskeletonous organisms in the past has required the sacrifice of the organism. Because the beam of the proton microprobe is relatively nondestructive and analyzes the surface layer of the shell, organisms do not have to be killed. The present paper presents results of a preliminary experiment in which distribution of elements (Na to Sr) in shell of living juvenile oysters, Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin), was studied in situ with a proton microprobe at monthly intervals for four months. The relative concentration of 16 elements was measured in the newly deposited prismatic edge of the right valve of three oysters reared in controlled laboratory conditions. Na, Mg, Al, Si, S, Cl, K, Ca, Ti, Cr, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Br, and Sr were detected in concentrations as low as a few parts per million relative to the concentration of standards added to pure CaCO3. Concentration of elements varied nominally among shells of the three individual oysters and in their successive ontogenetic stages. Fluctuations in concentration of Na, Mg, S, Cl, Ca, Mn, Fe, Cu, and Zn were generally similar in the two normally growing oysters, but differed from those in the oyster that stopped growing. Trends in concentration of Al, Si, and Sr were similar in the three oysters: those of Br were variable. Relative concentrations of Na, Cl, S, Mn, Fe, and Zn increased slightly with age of oysters, that of the other elements stayed relatively constant. Concentration of most elements was higher in shell than in seawater. Variable concentrations, especially of Na, Cl, and Si in valve edges, tend to support the hypothesis of earlier workers that separate mineral phases are present as impurities entrapped within the shell during calcification.

Keywords

Surface Layer Laboratory Condition CaCO3 Relative Concentration Exploratory Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. R. Carriker
    • 1
  • C. P. Swann
    • 2
  • J. W. Ewart
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Marine StudiesUniversity of DelawareLewesUSA
  2. 2.Bartol Research Foundation of the Franklin InstituteUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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