Technical Note: Weight approximation of coccoliths using a circular polarizer and interference colour derived retardation estimates – (The CPR Method)
Abstract. A circular polarizer is used for the first time to image coccoliths without the extinction pattern of crossed polarized light at maximum interference colour. The combination of a circular polarizer with retardation measurements based on grey values derived from theoretical calculations allows for the first time accurate calculations of the weight of single coccoliths thinner than 1.37 μm. The weight estimates of 364 Holocene coccoliths using this new method are in good agreement with published volumetric estimates. A robust calibration method based on the measurement of a calibration target of known retardation enables the comparison of data between different imaging systems. Therefore, the new method overcomes the shortcomings of the error prone empirical calibration procedure of a previously reported method based on birefringence of calcite. Furthermore, it greatly simplifies the identification of coccolithophore species on the light microscope as well as the calculation of the area and thus weight of a coccolith.