Journal of morphology, 3, 2014. Paper Website abstract bibtex
Growth dynamics of the primary spine of the cidaroid sea urchin Phyllacanthus imperialis was assessed for the first time using pulsed (26) Mg-labeling and NanoSIMS isotopic imaging. The sea urchin was incubated twice (for 48 h) in artificial seawater with elevated level of (26) Mg. After each labeling event, the sea urchin was returned for 72 h to seawater with natural isotopic abundance of (26) Mg. NanoSIMS ion microprobe was subsequently used to visualize the labeled regions of the spine with submicrometer lateral resolution. The growth of the new skeleton was restricted to the distalmost and peripheral portions of the spine. Skeletogenesis involved mostly the deposition of continuous thickening layers and lateral growth involving bridges between previously formed trabeculae. The timescale of formation of individual thickening layers (ca. 1 µm in width) on the stereom trabeculae was on the order of 1 day. Longitudinal growth occurred mainly at the periphery in the form of small portions of the thickening deposits or more massive microspines that appeared to branch and fuse with those above and below. These microspines were found to grow at about 10 µm/day. These results reveal that the skeletal growth of a juvenile cidaroid spine is complex and highly heterogeneous, with different extension rates depending on the stage of the stereom development and/or direction of the growth fronts. The growth pattern observed here at the submicrometer scale provides direct evidence supporting the earlier suggestions that the lamellar structure of echinoderm stereom is formed by periodic deposition of continuous mineral layers. J. Morphol., 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.