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Marine teleost fish are important carbonate producers in neritic and oceanic settings. However, the fates of the diverse carbonate phases (i.e., mineral and amorphous forms of CaCO3) they produce, and their roles in sediment production and marine inorganic carbon cycling, remain poorly understood. Here we quantify the carbonate phases produced by 22 Bahamian fish species and integrate these data with regional fish biomass data from The Bahamas to generate a novel platform-scale production model that resolves these phases. Overall carbonate phase proportions, ordered by decreasing phase stability, are: ~20% calcite, ~6% aragonite, ~60% high-Mg calcite, and ~14% amorphous carbonate. We predict that these phases undergo differing fates, with at least ~14% (amorphous carbonate) likely dissolving rapidly. Results further indicate that fisheries exploitation in The Bahamas has potentially reduced fish carbonate production by up to 58% in certain habitats, whilst also driving a deviation from natural phase proportions. These findings have evident implications for understanding sedimentary processes in shallow warm-water carbonate provinces. We further speculate that marked phase heterogeneity may be a hitherto unrecognised feature of fish carbonates across a wide range of neritic and oceanic settings, with potentially major implications for understanding their role in global marine inorganic carbon cycling.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Originally published in Scientific Reports.



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