Phaeodarian Skeletons: Their Role in Silica Transport to the Deep Sea

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Science  11 Nov 1983:
Vol. 222, Issue 4624, pp. 616-618
DOI: 10.1126/science.222.4624.616


The skeletons of phaeodarian Radiolaria transport and redistribute silica to the tropical deep oceans by dissolving in the water column and on the sea floor. The skeletons are initially solid but within a few days to months become progressively more porous while settling through the water column. Phaeodarian Radiolaria are rarely preserved in the bottom sediments; in contrast, polycystine Radiolaria are the dominant Radiolaria preserved in the fossil record. This preservational difference may be due to differences in skeletal constituents.