Coccolithophores are marine phytoplankton that form calcium carbonate structures (coccoliths) surrounding their organic constituents. The left image shows a single cell of the species Emilania huxleyi (diameter ~5 micrometers). Coccoliths become detached (images on the right) from the parent cells during blooms and turn the water a milky blue-green color, making them the focus of many remote sensing studies. In attempting to model the backscattering of light from individual detached coccoliths, the importance of the coccolith's fine-scale structure is assessed in determining their backscattering characteristics. For details, see the paper by
Gordon et al., pp. 7166-7173.
(Images courtesy of Jeremy Young, The Natural History Museum, London.)