Coralline Algae: Mineralization, Taxonomy, and Palaeoecology

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This critical review focusses on three areas of recent research on the crustose coralline algae:

Calcification and Diagenesis

Recent work has clarified the calcification of corallines as being a two-stage process; firstly, tangential and secondly radial calcite is deposited within the matrix of the cell walls. This internal calcification of cell walls is unique to the coralline algae and should be used to interpret early problematic red algae in which other characteristic structures are not present. Recent descriptions of subcrustal aragonite from corallines show that this form of mineralization is not restricted to the squamariaceans, as has been generally considered.

Taxonomic Revisions of Genera

New investigations on Recent coralline algae by workers in Australia and Britain is leading to important revisions of well-known Recent and fossil genera. The time is appropriate to assess the implications of this work for palaeontology. Important questions are the preservation of taxonomic characters and the relationships between fossil taxa and groups of Recent taxa. Specific determination of many fossil corallines suffers from excessive splitting on the basis of too few characters. The importance of detailed measurements and statistics is emphasized.

Ecology and Palaeoecology of Coralline Algae

The longevity of coralline genera, together with their ecological restrictions and plasticity of growth forms in relation to environmental parameters, makes the corallines a good group for palaeoenvironmental analyses. Recent work has shown the strong relationships between growth form and hydraulic energy; and the generic composition of floras and water depths. The latter has exciting potential for erecting quantitative palaeobathymetric zones for the Cenozoic.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCalcareous Algae and Stromatolites
EditorsRobert Riding
PublisherSpringer Berlin / Heidelberg
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-642-52335-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-52337-3
Publication statusPublished - 1991

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