Yes, it turns: experimental evidence of pearl rotation during its formation

Type Article
Date 2015-07
Language English
Author(s) Gueguen YannickORCID1, 2, Czorlich Yann1, Mastail Max3, Le Tohic Bruno4, Defay Didier4, Lyonnard Pierre1, Marigliano Damien1, Gauthier Jean-Pierre5, Bari Hubert6, Lo Cedrik7, Chabrier Sebastien8, Le Moullac GillesORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, UMR EIO 241, UPF ILM IRD, Labex Corail, BP 7004, Taravao 98719, Fr Polynesia.
2 : Univ Montpellier, CNRS, IFREMER, UMR IHPE 5244 ,UPVD, F-34095 Montpellier, France.
3 : IFREMER, Ctr Atlantique, F-44311 Nantes 03, France.
4 : Vega Ind, F-94200 Ivry, France.
5 : Lab ICP TEXINFINE, F-69006 Lyon, France.
6 : Qatar Museums, Pearl & Jewellery Museum, Doha, Qatar.
7 : Direct Ressources Marines & Min, Papeete 98713, Tahiti, Fr Polynesia.
8 : Univ Polynesie Francaise, Lab GEPASUD, Faaa 98702, Tahiti, Fr Polynesia.
Source Royal Society Open Science (2054-5703) (Royal Soc), 2015-07 , Vol. 2 , N. 7 , P. 150144
DOI 10.1098/rsos.150144
WOS© Times Cited 9
Keyword(s) pearl oyster, pearl rotation, biomineralization
Abstract Cultured pearls are human creations formed by inserting a nucleus and a small piece of mantle tissue into a living shelled mollusc, usually a pearl oyster. Although many pearl observations intuitively suggest a possible rotation of the nucleated pearl inside the oyster, no experimental demonstration of such a movement has ever been done. This can be explained by the difficulty of observation of such a phenomenon in the tissues of a living animal. To investigate this question of pearl rotation, a magnetometer system was specifically engineered to register magnetic field variations with magnetic sensors from movements of a magnetic nucleus inserted in the pearl oyster. We demonstrated that a continuous movement of the nucleus inside the oyster starts after a minimum of 40 days post-grafting and continues until the pearl harvest. We measured a mean angular speed of 1.27° min−1 calculated for four different oysters. Rotation variability was observed among oysters and may be correlated to pearl shape and defects. Nature's ability to generate so amazingly complex structures like a pearl has delivered one of its secrets.
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Gueguen Yannick, Czorlich Yann, Mastail Max, Le Tohic Bruno, Defay Didier, Lyonnard Pierre, Marigliano Damien, Gauthier Jean-Pierre, Bari Hubert, Lo Cedrik, Chabrier Sebastien, Le Moullac Gilles (2015). Yes, it turns: experimental evidence of pearl rotation during its formation. Royal Society Open Science, 2(7), 150144. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :