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Long-chain (37–39 carbon atoms) di-, tri-, and tetraunsaturated methyl and ethyl ketones produced by certain phytoplankton (coccolithophorids), which biosynthetically control the degree of unsaturation (number of carbon-carbon double bonds) in response to the water temperature; the survival of this temperature signal in marine sediment sequences provides a temporal record of sea surface temperatures that reflect past climates.
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From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Environmental Science.  The Content is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content.  The Work is © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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