The giants of the phylum Brachiopoda: a matter of diet?
Angiolini, Lucia; Crippa, Gaia; Azmy, Karem; Capitani, Giancarlo; Confalonieri, Giorgia; Della Porta, Giovanna; Griesshaber, Erika; Harper, David A.T.; Leng, Melanie J.; Nolan, Leah; Orlandi, Marco; Posenato, Renato; Schmahl, Wolfgang W.; Banks, Vanessa J.; Stephenson, Michael H.
Giovanna Della Porta
David A.T. Harper
Melanie J. Leng
Wolfgang W. Schmahl
Vanessa J. Banks
Michael H. Stephenson
The species of the brachiopod Gigantoproductus are giants within the Palaeozoic sedentary benthos. This presents a dilemma as living brachiopods have low‐energy lifestyles. Although brachiopod metabolic rates were probably higher during the Palaeozoic than today, the massive size reached by species of Gigantoproductus is nevertheless unusual. By examining the diet of Gigantoproductus species from the Visean (Mississippian, Carboniferous) of Derbyshire (UK), we seek to understand the mechanisms that enabled those low‐metabolism brachiopod species to become giants. Were they suspension feeders, similar to all other brachiopods, or did endosymbiosis provide a lifestyle that allowed them to have higher metabolic rates and become giants? We suggest that the answer to this conundrum may be solved by the identification of the biogeochemical signatures of symbionts, through combined analyses of the carbon and nitrogen‐isotopic compositions of the occluded organic matrix within their calcite shells. The shells are formed of substructured columnar units that are remarkably long and a few hundreds of microns wide, deemed to be mostly pristine based on multiple analyses (petrography, cathodoluminescence (CL), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM)); they contain occluded organic fractions detected by TEM, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC‐MS) analyses. We conclude that the gigantic size reached by the species of Gigantoproductus is probably the result of a mixotroph lifestyle, by which they could rely on the energy and nutrients derived both from photosymbiotic microbes and from filtered particulate food.
Angiolini, L., Crippa, G., Azmy, K., Capitani, G., Confalonieri, G., Della Porta, G., …Stephenson, M. H. (2019). The giants of the phylum Brachiopoda: a matter of diet?. Palaeontology, 62(6), 889-917. https://doi.org/10.1111/pala.12433
|Journal Article Type||Article|
|Acceptance Date||Feb 19, 2019|
|Online Publication Date||Jun 10, 2019|
|Deposit Date||Jun 24, 2019|
|Publicly Available Date||Jun 10, 2020|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|
Accepted Journal Article
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Angiolini, Lucia, Crippa, Gaia, Azmy, Karem, Capitani, Giancarlo, Confalonieri, Giorgia, Della Porta, Giovanna, Griesshaber, Erika, Harper, David A. T., Leng, Melanie J., Nolan, Leah, Orlandi, Marco, Posenato, Renato, Schmahl, Wolfgang W., Banks, Vanessa J. & Stephenson, Michael H. (2019). The giants of the phylum Brachiopoda: a matter of diet? Palaeontology 62(6): 889-917 which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m42t6tm. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
You might also like
An enigmatic large discoidal fossil from the Pennsylvanian of County Clare, Ireland
New fossil assemblages from the Early Ordovician Fezouata Biota
Ratification of subseries/subepochs as formal rank/units in international chronostratigraphy
Late Ordovician Extinctions