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With their extensive fossil record and shells of stable low-Mg calcite, rhynchonelliform brachiopods are attractive sources of climate information via seawater temperature proxies such as stable oxygen isotope composition. In Terebratalia transversa (Sowerby) there is a progression towards oxygen isotope equilibrium in the calcite of the innermost secondary layer. This study confirms the lack of any vital effects influencing oxygen isotope composition of T. transversa, even in specialised areas of the innermost secondary layer. Calcite Mg/Ca ratio is another potential seawater temperature proxy, that has the advantage of not being influenced by salinity. Mg concentrations measured by electron microprobe analyses indicate that there is no concomitant decrease in Mg concentration towards the inner secondary layer, associated with the progressive shift towards oxygen isotope equilibrium. Mg distribution is heterogeneous throughout the shell and correlates with that of sulphur, which may be a proxy for organic components, suggesting that some of the Mg may not be in the calcite lattice. It is essential therefore, to determine the chemical environment of the magnesium ions to avoid any erroneous temperature extrapolations in brachiopods or any other calcite biomineral.