A minute, rounded, calcareous platelet, numbers of which form the spherical shells of coccolithophores.
- At this rate it is possible to produce an average 100 metre thickness of coccoliths as calcareous ooze on the ocean floor in less than 200 years.
- Chalk, though it may include shell fragments, is predominantly composed of coccoliths from planktonic algae, forming fine-grained limestone.
- The living cell possesses a gelatinous sheath in which are embedded calcareous plates termed coccoliths.
Mid 19th century: from Greek kokkos 'grain or berry' + lithos 'stone'.
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