Today we enter into the microscopic world of coccolithophores. I found this fascinating mandala-like image on Nannotax 3’s web site.
Yet again, Mother Nature proves to be quite the amazing artiste. I love how the angular patterns form the circles, and as the “circles” build upon themselves, they come together to form a sphere-shaped organism. This one’s a beauty.
For those of you, who like me, are new to coccolithophores, NASA’s Earth Observatory web site defines them as:
Like any other type of phytoplankton, coccolithophores are one-celled marine plants that live in large numbers throughout the upper layers of the ocean. Unlike any other plant in the ocean, coccolithophores surround themselves with a microscopic plating made of limestone (calcite). These scales, known as coccoliths, are shaped like hubcaps and are only three one-thousandths of a millimeter in diameter.
On their web site, Nannotax 3 describes their objective as:
…to provide an authoritative guide to the biodiversity and taxonomy of coccolithophores – a beautiful group of microscopic planktonic algae with an abundant fossil record and a key role in the global carbon cycle.
For me, I just love the artsy side of science-y stuff.