Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Geobiology

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 211-211

Calcareous Algae

  • Joachim ReitnerAffiliated withUniversity of Göttingen
  • , Volker ThielAffiliated withUniversity of Göttingen

The term “calcareous algae” refers to various kinds of benthic and planktonic algae whose thalli contain biochemically precipitated calcium carbonate (CaCO3) as skeletal material (Wray, 1977; Braga and Riding, 2005). Precipitation of CaCO3 (as calcite and/or aragonite) may occur within or on the algal bodies. The term may also include mechanically accreted deposits of calcium carbonate caused by algae, usually as an interaction of biological and physical processes. Calcareous algae are a highly artificial group that constitutes calcifying members of the Chlorophyta (green algae), Rhodophyta (red algae), and Phaeophyta (brown algae) and is sometimes also used for Cyanobacteria. At present, calcareous algae are one of the most important reef builders (see “Carbonate Environments”). For a detailed reading, please refer to “Algae (Eukaryotic).”

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