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Król et al., 2024

Deducing photosymbiosis in extinct heliolitid corals

Król, J. J., Berkowski, B., Denayer, J., Zapalski, M. K.
AjakiriCoral Reefs
Tüüpartikkel ajakirjas


The matter of photosymbiosis in Paleozoic corals remains unresolved as it is not possible to directly check for the presence of algal symbionts in fossil corals. However, present-day photosymbiotic corals are characterised by a number of features that can be evaluated in fossil corals as well, such as large, highly integrated colonies, growth banding, and platy growth forms in mesophotic conditions. The present study aims to evaluate these features in heliolitid corals. Heliolitids were relatively highly integrated, compared to other Paleozoic corals and could produce large colonies, over 1 m in diameter. In this study, heliolitid corals from different outcrops from the Silurian (~ 444 to 419 ma) of Gotland (Sweden) were analysed, and additional Devonian (~ 419 to 359 ma) specimens from Belgium, Poland and Morocco, featuring cyclic growth banding, were also included. Overall, over 60% of studied specimens from Lower Visby Formation in Ireviken and over 80% from Eke Formation in Lau Käldu are platy or tabular. Those outcrops represent environments that were mesophotic. Specimens from the shallower Upper Visby Formation in Ygne are dominated by branching forms instead. The apparent light-related skeletal plasticity, high colony integration, growth banding, and the absence of heliolitids in deep water environments implies that some of these corals were most likely photosymbiotic.

Viimati muudetud: 8.1.2024
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