We performed a 9 day dissolution experiment with tests of the planktic foraminifer Globigerina bulloides at pH 6.7 ± 0.1 in water undersaturated with respect to calcite. The initial stage of the dissolution process, which is not recognizable from the surface structure of the tests, was quantitatively evaluated by X-ray microcomputed tomography (XMCT). XMCT revealed three distinct test structures: early-developed calcite formed during the juvenile stage of G. bulloides, an inner calcite layer, and an outer calcite layer. The test ultrastructure was observed by scanning electron microscopy, and CT number evaluated the density distribution in the test. The early-developed calcite and inner calcite layer had low CT numbers (500-1300; low density, porous) and were sensitive to dissolution, whereas the outer calcite layer had high CT numbers (<1300; high density) and resisted dissolution. Both the modes and the frequencies of the CT numbers decreased with progress of dissolution. Changes in the CT number histogram with progress of dissolution were quantified in terms of the percentage of calcite volume accounted for by low-density calcite (% Low-CT-number calcite). A clear linear relationship (R2 = 0.87) between % Low-CT-number calcite and % Test weight loss was found. This relationship indicates that the amount of test dissolution can be estimated from the distribution of CT numbers. We propose that XMCT measurements will be useful for quantitatively estimating the amount of carbonate loss from foraminiferal tests by dissolution.
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