Are Diatoms Animals or Plants ?

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Once the diatoms discovered, people are debating whether diatoms were animals or plants . It was thought to be a single-celled animal like paramecium , and then it was regarded as plants because it could photosynthesize——they even had cell walls !

Diatoms are algae that live in houses made of glass . They are the only organism on the planet with cell walls composed of transparent , opaline silica .

Diatoms have light-absorbing molecules(chlorophyIIs a and c) that collect energy from the sun and turn it into chemical energy through photosynthesis . They produce 20-30% of the air we breath .

They are also an important source of these energy rich molecules that are food for the entire food web, from zooplankton to aquatic insects to fish to whales .

Taking a microscopic view of diatoms !

  1. How big are diatoms ?

Nearly all diatoms are microscopic -cells range in size from 2 um to 500um , that is ,half of a millimeter .

  1. Where do diatoms live ?

Diatoms live in water , or even in moist habitats or soils .Some diatoms live as free-floating cells in the plankton of ponds , lakes and oceans .

  • How long does a diatom cell live ?

A single diatom cell can divide and form two new cells . Cells may divide as quickly as once a day up to every several weeks .

Observing the diatoms under a fluorescence microscope .

Photographer :Leonardo Capradossi

The filter set that Leo used is DAPI longpass filter from Optolong Optics .

Details of the filters: