coccolith


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Related to coccolith: Foraminifera, Coccosphere, radiolarian

coccolith

[′käk·ə‚lith]
(botany)
One of the small, interlocking calcite plates covering members of the Coccolithophorida.
References in periodicals archive ?
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.
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.
The sedimentary origin of the calcareous components is proved by the presence of coccoliths, fossils of marine algae that lived in past geological eras but not at present (Danin et al.
Scientists could not understand why coccoliths, the delicately architectured calcite shells of phytoplankton, only several micrometers in size, were preserved on the deep ocean floor just beneath the area where they were produced.
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.
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.