2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 2:45 PM

Biomarkers in Paleozoic Echinoderms

O'MALLEY, Christina E., Department of Earth And Environmental Sciences, Wright State University, Brehm Lab 260, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy, Dayton, OH 45435, AUSICH, William, School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University, 155 S Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210-1398 and CHIN, Yu-Ping, School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, 275 Mendenhall Laboratory, 125 South Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210-1308, christina.omalley@wright.edu

Organic molecules have been extracted directly from Paleozoic (Mississippian) crinoids (O'Malley, 2006, 2008). These Paleozoic biomarker molecules were isolated from Lower Mississippian crinoids that have retained some color differentiation as fossilized remains.

We hypothesize that it is the unique calcite mesodermal skeleton with stereomic microstructure that is responsible for preservation of these ancient biomarkers. All echinoderms possess similar skeletons, so if our hypothesis is correct, other ancient echinoderms should also preserve biomarkers. To test this hypothesis, other echinoderm classes are studied.

Similar color differentiation is observed in other Echinoderm taxa, including: Asteroidea, Blastoidea, Diplopora, Echinoidea, and Edrioasteroidea. Preliminary analyses indicate that biomarker molecules are preserved in specimens representing these classes as analyzed by ultraviolet visible light spectroscopy and fluorescence. We separated and further purified these substances using reverse phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC). Using excitation-emission matrix (EEM) fluorescence spectroscopy, these molecules were tentatively identified as “quinone-like” based upon the EEMs derived from pure quinone standards.