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Keywords:

  • biomineralization;
  • coccolith morphogenesis;
  • coccolithophores;
  • colchicine;
  • cytochalasin B;
  • cytoskeleton

The coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi (Lohmann) W. W. Hay et H. Mohler was cultured in natural seawater with the addition of either the microtubule-inhibitor colchicine, the actin-inhibitor cytochalasin B, or the photosynthesis inhibitor 3-(3,4 dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethyl-urea (DCMU). Additionally, E. huxleyi was cultured at different light intensities and temperatures. Growth rate was monitored, and coccolith morphology analyzed. While every treatment affected growth rate, the percentage of malformed coccoliths increased with colchicine, cytochalasin B, and at higher than optimal temperature. These results represent the first experimental evidence for the role of microtubules and actin microfilaments in coccolith morphogenesis.