Help with fossil cold seep tubes

Roberto Barbieri barbieri at geomin.unibo.it
Tue Aug 10 15:12:56 EST 2004


Dear all,

I'm wondering if the "Annelida" community might be able to help and 
advise me. I am a micropaleontologist with scientific interests that 
include the study of  modern cold seep carbonate bodies and through the 
geologic time, especially in terms of the microbial fossils that can be 
preserved in these carbonate rocks.

Recently, I have studied a Miocene-aged cold seep which is characterized 
by the abundance of tubular-shaped structures. These tubes are embedded 
in a carbonate rock with very negative delta C13 values, as it is 
typical of cold seep-generated carbonates. The size of these tubes is 
about 200-300 microns in diameter and up to 2-3 mm in length. They are 
often densely packed, although they can also be less densely spread in 
the rock. My first interpretation for these "things" is that they would 
be mineralized filamentous bacteria, such as giant Beggiatoa. Now, for 
several reasons (including size and lack of visible segmentation), I 
think that they could be nematode or polichaete worms, or products of 
their metabolism (i.e. fecal remains).

May be someone in your biological community can help me in their 
interpretation or can point me in the direction of someone who is. In 
this case I  can also forward light microscope and SEM photographs of 
these bugs.

Thanks to all of you,

Roberto


Roberto Barbieri
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e Geologico-Ambientali
Universita' di Bologna
Via Zamboni 67, 40126 Bologna, Italy

Voice: +39 051 2094575
Fax: +39 051 2094522

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