Are coccolithophores bacteria?

A coccolithophore (or coccolithophorid, from the adjective) is a unicellular, eukaryotic phytoplankton (alga). Coccolithophores are almost exclusively marine and are found in large numbers throughout the sunlight zone of the ocean.

What is the role of coccolithophores in carbon cycle?

Coccolithophores precipitate lots of carbon into carbonate, along with making organic matter, and they, too, tend to settle out. But they remove calcium carbonate from surface waters by precipitation, which makes these waters reject carbon dioxide and thus tend to raise the atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

What are coccolithophores made of?

Coccolithophores use calcium carbonate in the form of calcite to form tiny plates, or scales, on their exterior. Oceans with a lower pH that can dissolve calcium carbonate could therefore have a harmful effect on the abundance of coccolithophores and, consequently, on the health of the oceans and the planet.

What are foraminifera and coccolithophores?

Forams represent an ancient and speciose group of zooplankton which live mostly in sediment (as is the case here), but also in the water column. Within the red squares you will see a second, smaller phytoplankton species known as a Coccolithophore.

Are coccolithophores extinct?

Calcareous nannofossils first appeared in the Late Triassic (~220 Ma) as abundant but low-diversity assemblages apparently restricted to low latitudes. All but one species of coccolith disappeared during an extinction event at the Triassic/Jurassic boundary (~200 Ma).

Are coccolithophores affected by ocean acidification?

Ocean acidification will potentially inhibit calcification by marine organisms; however, the response of the most prolific ocean calcifiers, coccolithophores, to this perturbation remains under characterized.

Are coccolithophores important?

The coccolithophores are calcifying protists that have formed a significant part of the oceanic phytoplankton since the Jurassic. Their role in regulating the Earth system is considerable. Coccolithophores thus play a primary role in the global carbon cycle (Figure 1).

Are coccolithophores alive?

Coccolithophores are single-celled algae belonging to the phytoplankton, formally classified in the class Prymnesiophyceae. Like any other phytoplankton, coccolithophores live in large numbers throughout the upper surface layers of the ocean.

Are coccolithophores phytoplankton?

Why do coccolithophores have shells?

Coccolithophores are microscopic marine algae that use carbon dioxide to grow and release carbon dioxide when they create their miniature calcite shells. Coccolithophores are microscopic marine algae that use carbon dioxide to grow and release carbon dioxide when they create their miniature calcite shells.

What does phytoplankton do for the ocean?

Phytoplankton provide organic matter for the organisms that comprise the vast majority of marine life. They do this by consuming carbon dioxide that would otherwise dissolve in the sea water and make it more acidic. The organisms provide organic matter for the vast majority of the marine food chain.

What are coccolithophores used for?

Coccolithophores, which are considered to be the most productive calcifying organisms on earth, play an important role in the marine carbon cycle. The formation of calcite skeletons in the surface layer and their subsequent sinking to depth modifies upper-ocean alkalinity and directly affects air/sea CO2 exchange.

Where does a coccolithophore live in the ocean?

The ideal place for them is on the surface of the ocean in an area where plenty of cooler, nutrient-carrying water is upwelling from below. In contrast, the coccolithophores prefer to live on the surface in still, nutrient-poor water in mild temperatures.

How are the coccolithophorids different from the Hacrobia?

Within the Hacrobia, the coccolithophorids are in the phylum or division Haptophyta, class Prymnesiophyceae (or Coccolithophyceae). Coccolithophorids are distinguished by special calcium carbonate plates (or scales) of uncertain function called coccoliths, which are also important microfossils.

How many scales does a coccolithophore have on it?

At any one time a single coccolithophore is attached to or surrounded by at least 30 scales. Additional coccoliths are dumped into the water when the Coccolithophores multiply asexually, die or simply make too many scales.

Are there coccolithophores in the Bering Sea?

In the past two years, large blooms of coccolithophores have covered areas of the Bering Sea. This surprises many scientists since the Bering Sea is normally a nutrient-rich body of water. The photograph at upper left shows the color of water containing a coccolithophore bloom.