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Calcium carbonate platforms produced by reef-building stony corals over geologic time are pervasive features around the world ; however, the mechanism by which these organisms produce the mineral is poorly understood (see review by ). It is generally assumed that stony corals precipitate calcium carbonate extracellularly as aragonite in a calcifying medium between the calicoblastic ectoderm and pre-existing skeleton, separated from the overlying seawater . The calicoblastic ectoderm produces extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, secreted to the calcifying medium [3-6], which appear to provide the nucleation, alteration, elongation, and inhibition mechanisms of the biomineral  and remain occluded and preserved in the skeleton [8-10]. Here we show in cell cultures of the stony coral Stylophora pistillata that calcium is concentrated in intracellular pockets that are subsequently exported from the cell where a nucleation process leads to the formation of extracellular aragonite crystals. Analysis of the growing crystals by lattice light-sheet microscopy suggests that the crystals elongate from the cells' surfaces outward.