Gaia scientists see the participation of living organisms in the carbon cycle as one of the complex processes that maintain conditions suitable for life. The only significant natural source of atmospheric carbon dioxide ( CO 2 ) is volcanic activity , while the only significant removal is through the precipitation of carbonate rocks .  Carbon precipitation, solution and fixation are influenced by the bacteria and plant roots in soils, where they improve gaseous circulation, or in coral reefs, where calcium carbonate is deposited as a solid on the sea floor. Calcium carbonate is used by living organisms to manufacture carbonaceous tests and shells. Once dead, the living organisms' shells fall to the bottom of the oceans where they generate deposits of chalk and limestone.