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Structural and elemental analysis of the freshwater, low-Mg calcite coralline alga pneophyllum cetinaensis

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Coralline algae are one of the most diversified groups of red algae and represent a major component of marine benthic habitats from the poles to the tropics. This group was believed to be exclusively marine until 2016, when the first freshwater coralline algae Pneophyllum cetinaensis was discovered in the Cetina River, southern Croatia. While several studies investigated the element compositions of marine coralline algal thalli, no information is yet available for the freshwater species. Using XRD, LA-ICP-MS and nano indentation, this study presents the first living low-Mg calcite coralline algae with Mg concentrations ten times lower than is common for the average marine species. Despite the lower Mg concentrations, hardness and elastic modulus (1.71 ± 1.58 GPa and 29.7 ± 18.0 GPa, respectively) are in the same range as other marine coralline algae, possibly due to other biogenic impurities. When compared to marine species, Ba/Ca values were unusually low, even though Ba concentrations are generally higher in rivers than in seawater. These low values might be linked to different physical and chemical characteristics of the Cetina River.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1089
Number of pages13
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2020


  • plants-09-01089

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    Licence: CC BY

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