Articles | Volume 12, issue 21
Biogeosciences, 12, 6493–6501, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-6493-2015
Biogeosciences, 12, 6493–6501, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-6493-2015

Research article 13 Nov 2015

Research article | 13 Nov 2015

Phytoplankton calcification as an effective mechanism to alleviate cellular calcium poisoning

M. N. Müller et al.

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The White Cliffs of Dover date back to the Cretaceous and are made up of microscopic chalky shells which were produced mainly by marine phytoplankton (coccolithophores). This is iconic proof for their success at times of relatively high seawater calcium concentrations and, as shown here, to be linked to their ability to precipitate calcium as chalk. The invention of calcification can thus be considered an evolutionary milestone allowing coccolithophores to thrive at times when others struggled.
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