Plankton cell wall, SEM

Plankton cell wall, SEM

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Credit: STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Plankton cell wall. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the geometrical plates making up the mineralised cell wall of a planktonic alga (Coronosphaera mediterranea). This is a type of alga known as a coccolithophorid, meaning that during its resting phase it produces these plates of calcium carbonate to form a shell around its single cell. It also has a motile phase, when it uses flagella to move. Such algae are found in the sea, forming huge algal blooms when conditions are right.

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