Marine Biology by John H. Steele & Steve A. Thorpe & Karl Karekin Turekian

By John H. Steele & Steve A. Thorpe & Karl Karekin Turekian

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Bacteria rapidly colonize fresh particulate matter in the sea, and elaborate polymeric material that helps to cement particles together, so they both reduce particle mass by enzymatic hydrolysis and promote particle formation by fostering aggregation. The balance of bacterial activity for forming particles and accelerating particle sedimentation or, in contrast, decomposing particles and reducing it, is not clear. Larvaceans and other giant, specialized bacteriovores, centimeters to meters in size, can 27 repackage tiny bacterial cells into large, rapidly sinking fecal aggregates, thus feeding the ocean’s smallest organisms into the biological carbon pump.

Variations in the number and kind of radiolarian species (based on skeletal form) in relation to depth in the sediment provide information about climatic and environmental conditions in the overlying water mass at the time the radiolarian skeletons were deposited at that geographic location. The radiolarians are second only to diatoms as a major source of biogenic opal (silicate) deposited in the ocean sediments. 29 N CW PV DV. SK Cellular Morphology The radiolarian cell body contains a dense mass of central cytoplasm known as the central capsule (Figure 2).

The shells of the Phaeodaria are varied in shape. Some species have ornately decorated open lattices resembling geodesic structures composed of interconnected, hollow tubes of silica. Other species have thickened skeletons resembling small clam shells with closely spaced pores on the surface. There are 17 major families with scores of genera. Since many species of radiolarians were first identified from sediments based solely on their mineralized skeletons, much of the key taxonomic characteristics include skeletal morphology.

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