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Plant hormones, light receptors, pathogens, and abiotic signals trigger elevations in the cytosolic calcium concentration, which mediate physiological and developmental responses. Recent studies are reviewed here that reveal how specific genetic mutations impair or modify stimulus-induced calcium elevations in plant cells. These studies provide genetic evidence for the importance of calcium as a second messenger in plant signal transduction. A fundamental question arises: How can different stimuli use the same second messenger, calcium, to mediate different responses? Recent research and models are reviewed that suggest that several important mechanisms contribute to specificity in calcium signaling in plant cells. These mechanisms include (i) activation of different calcium channels in the plasma membrane and organellar membranes, (ii) stimulus-specific calcium oscillation parameters, (iii) cell type-specific responses, and (iv) intracellular localization of calcium gradients and calcium elevations in plant cells.