University of Gdansk, Faculty of Biology, Department of Genetics and Biosystematics, Laboratory of Biosystematics and Ecology of Aquatic Invertebrates, Wita Stwosza 59, 80-308 Gdansk, Poland. Electronic address: email@example.com.
We report the ratios of minor (K/Ca, Na/Ca, P/Ca, S/Ca) and trace elements (Al/Ca, Ba/Ca, Fe/Ca, Mn/Ca and Zn/Ca) in skeletons of five Arctic echinoderm species representing three classes: Asteroidea, Ophiuroidea, Crinoidea. We found that skeletons of Arctic echinoderms show a unique, species-specific trace element composition that may suggest that incorporation of elements into the skeleton is biologically controlled by the organism. On the other hand, the concentration of some minor elements in skeletal parts exhibit patterns that are consistent with elemental concentrations in seawater, indicating that formation of echinoderm skeletons is environmentally controlled. Seawater is the main source of ions and compounds needed for skeletal formation and maintaining similar concentrations most likely reduces the biological cost related to selective uptake of ions. Additionally, Al, Ba, Fe, Mg and Mn showed station specific variation in elemental concentration which again suggests that accumulation of metals can be shaped by environmental concentrations.