Host-influenced geochemical signature in the parasitic foraminifera Hyrrokkin sarcophaga

Nicolai Schleinkofer, David Evans, Max Wisshak, Janina Vanessa Büscher, Jens Fiebig, André Freiwald, Sven Härter, Horst R. Marschall, Silke Voigt, Jacek Raddatz

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Hyrrokkin sarcophaga is a parasitic foraminifera that is commonly found in cold-water coral reefs where it infests the file clam Acesta excavata and the scleractinian coral Desmophyllum pertusum (formerly known as Lophelia pertusa). Here, we present measurements of the trace element and isotopic composition of these parasitic foraminifera, analyzed by inductively coupled optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) and mass spectrometry (gas-source MS and inductively-coupled-plasma MS). Our results reveal that the geochemical signature of H. sarcophaga depends on the host organism it infests. Sr / Ca ratios are 1.1 mmol mol-1 higher in H. sarcophaga that infest D. pertusum, which could be an indication that dissolved host carbonate material is utilized in shell calcification, given that the aragonite of D. pertusum has a naturally higher Sr concentration compared to the calcite of A. excavata. Similarly, we measure 3.1 ‰ lower δ13C and 0.25 ‰ lower δ18O values in H. sarcophaga that lived on D. pertusum, which might be caused by the direct uptake of the host's carbonate material with a more negative isotopic composition or different pH regimes in these foraminifera (pH can exert a control on the extent of CO2 hydration/hydroxylation) due to the uptake of body fluids of the host. We also observe higher Mn / Ca ratios in foraminifera that lived on A. excavata but did not penetrate the host shell compared to specimen that penetrated the shell, which could be interpreted as a change in food source, changes in the calcification rate, Rayleigh fractionation or changing oxygen conditions. While our measurements provide an interesting insight into the calcification process of this unusual foraminifera, these data also indicate that the geochemistry of this parasitic foraminifera is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of paleoenvironmental conditions using Sr / Ca, Mn / Ca, δ18O or δ13C unless the host organism is known and its geochemical composition can be accounted for.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4733-4753
Number of pages21
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 20 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support. This research has been supported by the

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Nicolai Schleinkofer et al.


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