A deep-sea agglutinated foraminifer tube constructed with planktonic foraminifer shells of a single species

Paul N. Pearson*, Ivano W. Aiello, Tali L. Babila, Germain Bayon, Luc Beaufort, Samantha C. Bova, Jong Hwa Chun, Haowen Dang, Anna Joy Drury, Tom Dunkley Jones, Patrícia P.B. Eichler, Fernando Allan Gil Salazar, Kelly Gibson, Robert G. Hatfield, Ann E. Holbourn, Daniel L. Johnson, Denise K. Kulhanek, Yuho Kumagai, Tiegang Li, Braddock K. LinsleyNiklas Meinicke, Gregory S. Mountain, Bradley N. Opdyke, Christopher R. Poole, Christina Ravelo, Yair Rosenthal, Takuya Sagawa, Anaïs Schmitt, Jennifer B. Wurtzel, Jian Xu, Masanobu Yamamoto, Yi Ge Zhang, IODP Expedition 363 Shipboard Scientific Party

*Corresponding author for this work

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Agglutinated foraminifera are marine protists that show apparently complex behaviour in constructing their shells, involving selecting suitable sedimentary grains from their environment, manipulating them in three dimensions, and cementing them precisely into position. Here we illustrate a striking and previously undescribed example of complex organisation in fragments of a tube-like foraminifer (questionably assigned to Rhabdammina) from 1466m water depth on the northwest Australian margin. The tube is constructed from well-cemented siliciclastic grains which form a matrix into which hundreds of planktonic foraminifer shells are regularly spaced in apparently helical bands. These shells are of a single species, Turborotalita clarkei, which has been selected to the exclusion of all other bioclasts. The majority of shells are set horizontally in the matrix with the umbilical side upward. This mode of construction, as is the case with other agglutinated tests, seems to require either an extraordinarily selective trial-and-error process at the site of cementation or an active sensory and decision-making system within the cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-104
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Micropalaeontology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Palaeontology


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