What are diatoms?

1 Answer


Diatoms are aquatic microalgae.


Diatoms are aquatic microalgae. Each of the tens of thousands of extant diatom species assembles a silica-based frustule with a particular 3D shape and patterned, nanoscale features (e.g., pores, channels, protuberances) that are replicated with fidelity upon biological reproduction.

Sustained reproduction of a given diatom species can yield enormous numbers of daughter diatoms with frustules of similar (genetically controlled) morphology (e.g., 80 reproduction cycles would yield #2^80# or more than 1 trillion trillion replicated frustules).

Here is a picture of a diatom:
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