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Hoffmann, R.; Kirchlechner, C.; Langer, G.; Wochnik, A. S.; Griesshaber, Erika; Schmahl, Wolfgang W.; Scheu, C. (2015): Insight into Emiliania huxleyi coccospheres by focused ion beam sectioning. In: Biogeosciences, Vol. 12, No. 3: pp. 825-834
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Abstract

Coccospheres of a cultured Emiliania huxleyi clone were sampled in the exponential growth phase and sectioned using a focused ion beam microscope. An average of 69 sections and the corresponding secondary electron micrographs per coccosphere provided detailed information on coccosphere architecture. The coccospheres feature 2-3 layers on average and 20 coccoliths per cell, of which only 15 can be seen in conventional scanning electron micrographs. The outer coccosphere diameter was positively correlated with the number of coccolith layers. By contrast, the inner coccosphere diameter (around 4.36 mu m),and hence the cell diameter, was quasi-constant. Coccoliths were not evenly distributed across the coccosphere, resulting more often than not in one part of the coccosphere displaying more coccolith layers than the other. The architectural data allowed for the calculation of the PIC / POC ratio, the density and the sinking velocity of individual cells. The correlation of these parameters has implications for the ongoing debate on the function of coccoliths.