The course aims to provide knowledge on the origin and evolution of the processes of biomineralization. The students will be taught the microstructures of the biominerals that form the exoskeletons of the main invertebrate groups and their fossil record. The relationships between these processes and the climatic and geodynamic evolution of our planet will also be analyzed.
The student will be able to analyze and identify the microstructures of the skeletal parts of the main invertebrate groups. He will also be able to understand the mechanisms of evolution of the biomineralization processes and their relations with the chemical-physical environment and the biotic components.
BIOMINERALIZATION is the mineralization process that is performed by organisms to produce hybrid composites of organic components and minerals. The resulting biocomposite is a low-cost material with exceptional properties. Origin and evolution of biomineralizazion. The Cambrian explosion. Types of biominerals and organisms that produce them. Functions and properties of biominerals. Models of biomineralizations. Biologically induced biomineralizations. Biologically controlled biomineralization. Biomineralization in bacteria. Biomineralization in protists. Biomineralization in corals. Biomineralization in brachiopods. Biomineralization in mollusks. Biomineralization in echinoderms. Hints of biomineralization in vertebrates. Applications of biomineralization: from palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic analyses to bioinspired materials for medical applications.