Corals open an exceptional window into many phenomena of geological, geochemical, climatic, and paleontological interest. From the Paleozoic to the present, corals provide some of the finest high-resolution archives of marine conditions. Corals are likewise exceptional for chronometric purposes, and even the terrestrial 14C timescale has now been calibrated against coral 230Th/234U. Corals also represent a testing ground for basic ideas about mineralogy and geochemistry. The shapes, sizes, and organization of skeletal crystals have been attributed to factors as diverse as mineral supersaturation levels and organic mediation of crystal growth. The coupling between calcification and photosynthesis...

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