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Łaska et al., 2024

New insights into endolithic palaeocommunity development in mobile hard substrate using CT imaging of bioeroded clasts from the Pliocene (Almería, SE Spain)

Łaska, W., Rodríguez-Tovar, F. J., Uchman, A.
AjakiriThe Science of Nature
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Bioeroded carbonate clasts from a Pliocene shallow-marine succession of Almería (SE Spain, Betic Cordillera) were analysed with computed tomography (CT). This revealed the detailed 3D architecture of bioerosion structures hidden within and allowed for their ichnotaxonomic identifcation (14 ichnospecies of 5 ichnogenera) and quantifcation. Borings are produced by worms, mostly polychaetes and sipunculids dominated, followed by bivalves and lastly by sponges. The crosscutting relationship between the borings and their preservation characteristics points to a complex colonization history of the clasts with repeated bioerosive episodes interrupted by physical disturbances, including overturning and abrasion of the clasts followed by their recolonization. Our fndings facilitated paleoenvironmental interpretation and can be compared to analogous modern-day ecological succession. The sharp dominance of worm borings — early successional species — may be related to frequent, periodic, physical disturbance that possibly prevented the cobble-dwelling macroboring community from being overtaken by sponges — late successional taxa. CT, hand sample and petrographic observations detected, aside from borings, other irregularly shaped pores which are interpreted to be generated by diagenetic processes including dolomitization, silicifcation and dissolution, representing an intraparticle moldic and moldic enlarged porosity. Boring porosity crosscutting the diagenetically altered grains suggests the later occurrence of bioerosion processes. Irregular shapes ranging from roughly spherical, elongate sub-polyhedral to amoeboid resemble morphologies produced by modern sponges. Moldic pores possibly acted as primary domiciles for boring sponges, which infested, altered and enlarged pre-existing pores as they grew (as happens in the modern), providing an example of how biological and non-biological processes interacted and together infuenced endolithic palaeocommunity development

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