Boring bivalve traces in modern reef and deeper-water macroid and rhodolith beds

Davide Bassi, Juan C. Braga, Masato Owada, Julio Aguirre, Jere H. Lipps, Hideko Takayanagi, Yasufumi Iryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Macroids and rhodoliths, made by encrusting acervulinid foraminifera and coralline algae, are widely recognized as bioengineers providing relatively stable microhabitats and increasing biodiversity for other species. Macroid and rhodolith beds occur in different depositional settings at various localities and bathymetries worldwide. Six case studies of macroid/rhodolith beds from 0 to 117 m water depth in the Pacific Ocean (northern Central Ryukyu Islands, French Polynesia), eastern Australia (Fraser Island, One Tree Reef, Lizard Island), and the Mediterranean Sea (southeastern Spain) show that nodules in the beds are perforated by small-sized boring bivalve traces (Gastrochaenolites). On average, boring bivalve shells (gastrochaenids and mytilids) are more slender and smaller than those living inside shallow-water rocky substrates. In the Pacific, Gastrochaena cuneiformis, Gastrochaena sp., Leiosolenus malaccanus, L. mucronatus, L. spp., and Lithophaga/Leiosolenus sp., for the first time identified below 20 m water depth, occur as juvenile forms along with rare small-sized adults. In deep-water macroids and rhodoliths the boring bivalves are larger than the shallower counterparts in which growth of juveniles is probably restrained by higher overturn rates of host nodules. In general, most boring bivalves are juveniles that grew faster than the acervulinid foraminiferal and coralline red algal hosts and rarely reached the adult stage. As a consequence of phenotypic plasticity, small-sized adults with slow growth rates coexist with juveniles. Below wave base macroids and rhodoliths had the highest amounts of bioerosion, mainly produced by sponges and polychaete worms. These modern observations provide bases for paleobiological inferences in fossil occurrences. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
JournalProgress in Earth and Planetary Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1


  • Bioerosion
  • Bivalves
  • Macroids
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Recent
  • Rhodoliths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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