Video S1 - A polarimetry movie acquired as the sample was moved horizontally show the changes in polarization as a function of position. The incoming polarization and the polarization filter were held constant as the sample was moved such that the light was transmitted first through the prismatic layer, then through nacre, the myostracal layer, and finally through the nacre after the myostracal layer.

The inner layer of many bivalve and gastropod molluscs consists of iridescent nacre, a material that is structured like a brick wall with bricks consisting of crystalline aragonite and mortar of organic molecules. Myostracal layers formed during shell growth at the point of muscle attachment to the shell can be found interspersed within the nacre structure. Little has been done to examine the effect the myostracal layer has on subsequent nacre structure. Here we present data on the structure of the myostracal and nacre layers from a bivalve mollusc, Pinctada fucata. Scanning electron microscope imaging shows the myostracal layer consists of regular crystalline blocks. The nacre before the layer consists of tablets approximately 400 nm thick, while after the myostracal layer the tablets are approximately 500 nm thick. A new technique, imaging polarimetry, indicates that the aragonite crystals within the nacre following the myostracal layer have greater orientation uniformity than before the myostracal layer. The results presented here suggest a possible interaction between the myostracal layer and subsequent shell growth.