September 29, 2012

Tiny fossils hint at effects of ocean acidification

Sediment-bound specimens allow comparison of ancient and present responses to changing oceans.

A rare find of stunningly intact fossils of prehistoric plankton will allow researchers to study how the tiny marine organisms cope with rising acidity in the oceans.

Finding such intact specimens of coccolithophores, micrometre-sized marine plankton encased in discs of calcium carbonate, is a real coup — searching for fossils of calcified single-celled organisms often yields only skeletal bits that have fallen to the ocean floor.