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Coccolithophores (also called coccolithophorids) are single-celled algae, protists and phytoplankton belonging to the division haptophytes. They are distinguished by special calcium carbonate plates (or scales) of unknown purpose called coccoliths (calcareous nannoplankton), which are important microfossils. Coccolithophores are exclusively marine and are found in large numbers throughout the surface euphotic zone of the ocean. An example of a globally-significant coccolithophore is Emiliania huxleyi.
Additional recommended knowledge
Due to their microscopic size and the broad distribution of many of their taxa, coccoliths have become very popular as index fossils for solving various stratigraphic problems. Microfossils are sensitive indicators of changes in the temperature and salinity of the ocean and sea surface water. The quantitative analysis of calcareous nannoplankton assemblages is being employed to reveal such changes.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Coccolithophore". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|