Foamy oysters: vesicular microstructure production in the Gryphaeidae via emulsification

Checa, Antonio G. and Linares, Fátima and Maldonado-Valderrama, Julia and Harper, Elizabeth M. (2020) Foamy oysters: vesicular microstructure production in the Gryphaeidae via emulsification. Journal of the Royal Society, Interface (Interface), 17 (170). ISSN 1742-5662, 1742-5689 DOI

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Official URL: https://royalsocietypublishing-org/doi/10.1098/rsi...


The vesicular microstructure is a very distinctive arrangement of calcite, consisting of hollow cavities (vesicles) of diverse sizes and shapes, usually elongated in the direction of shell thickening. It is uniquely found among living bivalves in a single oyster family, Gryphaeidae. The vesicles are distributed in lenses interleaved with compact foliated layers. We have studied the morphology and distribution of vesicles within the lenses using optical and electron microscopy, and microcomputed tomography. At a small scale, vesicles do not follow a classical von Neumann-Mullins route typical of ideal foams. At a larger scale, the initiation and evolution of a vesicular layer statistically proceed like a foam, with vesicles becoming more numerous, larger, and more even in size. In summary, the vesicular material follows a foam-like coarsening to reduce the number of energetically costly interfaces. However, a steady state is never reached because the animal permanently introduces energy in the system by creating new vesicles. The fabrication of the vesicular material is mediated by the production of an emulsion between the extrapallial fluid and the precursor PILP of the calcitic walls within the thin extrapallial space. For this mechanism to proceed, the mantle cells must perform highly sophisticated behaviours of contact recognition and secretion. Accordingly, the vesicular material is under mixed physical-biological control.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2020AREP; IA76
Subjects: 04 - Palaeobiology
Divisions: 04 - Palaeobiology
08 - Green Open Access
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface (Interface)
Volume: 17
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2020 17:30
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2021 17:07

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