coccolith

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Related to Coccoliths: Coccosphere, Acritarchs

coccolith

[′käk·ə‚lith]
(botany)
One of the small, interlocking calcite plates covering members of the Coccolithophorida.
References in periodicals archive ?
Coccoliths are formed almost exclusively of calcium carbonate, as most magnesium is expelled by metabolic processes within the cells, whereas foraminiferal shells contain a much higher concentration of magnesium.
Viewing one of the fecal pellets under an electron microscope, I was fascinated to find it full of perfectly preserved coccoliths and undigested, many-celled organelles.
Because filter-feeding zooplankton are concerned only with the size of their food and graze phytoplankton almost indiscriminately, indigestible coccoliths and diatom frustules are concentrated in their fecal pellets.
The researchers were therefore surprised to discover that foraminiferan tests sampled from the Challenger Deep contained calcareous components, including the dissolved remnants of coccoliths, the calcium carbonate plates of tiny algae called coccolithophores, and planktonic foraminiferan test fragments.
Our observations demonstrate that coccoliths, and probably also planktonic foraminiferan tests, reach the Challenger Deep intact," said Gooday.
Henriksen describe in detail the crystallography, morphology and process of calcite skeleton formation in coccoliths, tiny but elaborate and highly controlled algal constructions.
As soon as they leave the upper ocean where they are produced, almost all of the coccoliths and foraminifera settle to the deep ocean floor within a short time.