Coccolithophores are a group of unicellular plant plankton, which produce exoskeletons of minute calcite plates, called coccoliths. Despite their small size (1–10 μm across), coccoliths are remarkably elaborate biomineral structures characterized by precise control of both nucleation and growth of calcite by the organic system. They are also of considerable environmental and applied geological importance. Coccolithophores occur in enormous abundances, forming a significant proportion of total marine primary production and carbon fixation, especially in open ocean environments. Their biogeochemical impact is magnified by export of coccoliths to the ocean floor, where coccoliths are the largest single component of deep-sea sediments,...

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