A novel method for imaging internal growth patterns in marine mollusks: A fluorescence case study on the aragonitic shell of the marine bivalve Arctica islandica (Linnaeus)

Alan D. Wanamaker Jr., Andy Baker, Paul G. Butler, Christopher A. Richardson, James D. Scourse, Iain Ridgway, David J. Reynolds

Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 7:673-681 (2009) | DOI: 10.4319/lom.2009.7.673

ABSTRACT: In this article, we explore the use of fluorescence spectroscopy to image growth patterns in the marine bivalve Arctica islandica (L.). The method presented here does not require any chemical treatment of the polished shell section and yields results comparable to acetate peels of acid-etched shell sections and Mutveitreated shell sections. Further, our results indicate that the annual growth lines in A. islandica fluoresce in the blue light spectrum (450–490 nm), thus an ultraviolet source (mercury lamp) is not required. The reflected light entering the digital camera was filtered (510–540 nm) and later enhanced to emphasize the annual growth patterns. The fluorescence of annual growth lines was consistent among the four animals used in this study. Additionally, we measured growth increments in the umbo section of one A. islandica shell using both the traditional acetate method and fluorescence imaging. The two sets of measurements were highly correlated (r = 0.97; P < 0.0001). We suggest that the fluorescence imaging method presented here is a viable option for increment identification and measurement in this key marine archive. It is likely that the methods demonstrated here for A. islandica can easily be used/modified for other bivalve (mollusk) taxa. Fluorescence microscopy permits rapid analysis of shell growth patterns with minimal pretreatment and offers an objective method of determination of annual growth increments and lines.