Chapter 12. Regulation of Coccolith Calcification in Pleurochrysis carterae

  1. Prof. Dr. Edmund Bäuerlein
  1. Mary E. Marsh

Published Online: 20 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch12

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

How to Cite

Marsh, M. E. (2007) Regulation of Coccolith Calcification in Pleurochrysis carterae, in Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation (ed E. Bäuerlein), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch12

Editor Information

  1. Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, Department of Membrane Biochemistry, Am Klopferspitz 18 A, 82152 Planegg, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 MAR 2008
  2. Published Print: 25 MAY 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527316410

Online ISBN: 9783527619443

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Keywords:

  • coccolithophore;
  • coccolith;
  • calcium carbonate;
  • carbon cycle;
  • calcification;
  • biomineralization;
  • calcite;
  • polyanions;
  • polysaccharides;
  • pleurochrysis carterae

Summary

Coccolithophores are marine phytoplankton that impact the pCO2 of ocean and atmosphere by consumption of CO2 through photosynthesis and generation of CO2 through CaCO3 formation. Coccolithophores exhibit both calcifying and non-calcifying phases (morphotypes), and transitions between phases can be triggered by such environmental variables as nutrient composition. Concomitantly global transitions of coccolithophore populations between non-calcifying and calcifying morphotypes may cause variation in environmental pCO2. Hence a major goal of phytoplankton research is to understand the molecular basis of CaCO3 production within coccolithophore populations and how it is impacted by environmental dynamics. This chapter summarizes the currently understood stages of CaCO3 formation and crystal growth in Pleurochrysis carterae emphasizing the roles of acidic polysaccharides and illustrating how deletions of these molecules -naturally or induced through mutagenesis - produce viable populations with non-calcifying or poorly calcifying morphotypes.