Articles | Volume 10, issue 2
01 Dec 1991
 | 01 Dec 1991

On the use of some phosphates in the preparation of ostracod shells

Mervin Kontrovitz, Jerry Marie Slack, and Zhao Yuhong

Abstract. Common preparation techniques for ostracods include the use of water-softeners containing sodium hexametaphosphate and/or sodium tripolyphosphate, to disaggregate sediments. Here, ostracod shells were treated with phosphatic water-softener in tap and distilled water. Concentrations as low as 2.5% in as little as six hours caused significant damage. The worst damage occurred in concentrations of water-softener at the middle of the range used (0 – 20%). Alteration could be misinterpreted as taphonomic. Taxa are not equally resistant and assemblages could be altered, leading to erroneous conclusions about diversity, dominance, and differential transport.