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Much of our understanding of Earth’s climate history is based on interpretation of geochemical variability within the CaCO3 tests and skeletons of marine organisms. Geochemical climate proxies are typically cast in terms of equilibrium thermodynamics, but there are important differences between the compositions of carbonates accreted by living organisms and predictions for carbonate minerals in equilibrium with seawater. These differences are commonly attributed to ‘vital effects’ thought to be caused by biological modification of the calcifying environment and of crystalgrowth kinetics. If this were true, then biologically modified crystal chemistry may be unpredictable or challenging to model mathematically,...

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