Standard Article

Algal Calcification and Silification

  1. Colin Brownlee,
  2. Alison R Taylor

Published Online: 16 MAY 2002

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0000313



How to Cite

Brownlee, C. and Taylor, A. R. 2002. Algal Calcification and Silification. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Marine Biological Association of the UK, Plymouth, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAY 2002

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (15 FEB 2016)


The algae represent major producers of calcium carbonate and silica among the world's biota. Calcification involves the precipitation of CaCO3 from Ca2+ and inline image ions. Algal calcification may account for up to half of global oceanic CaCO3 production. Silicification is less widespread among algal groups, which transform dissolved silicate to skeletal material. Diatoms play a key role in marine silica cycling. Diatomaceous deposits have long been exploited for building and filling materials, and the low-temperature, low-pressure biogenic formation of silica has potential for biotechnological application in novel industrial processes.


  • calcite;
  • silica;
  • coccolithophores;
  • diatoms;
  • biogeochemistry