Diatoms have been around for a loooong time (Since the Jurassic period. Yeah, my ancestors knew the dinosaurs. Jealous?), but humans didn’t know we existed until 1703 when some English dude saw me under a microscope.
- I’m unicellular
- I’m microscopic (Although, I’ve been told I’m pretty big for being so small.)
- Like most diatoms, I’m photosynthetic. (But I do associate with some heterotrophic diatoms. I don’t discriminate.)
- I have large vacuoles to get rid of all the waste I don’t need.
- My cell wall is made of a valve and a girdle and contains a lot of silica. There are two parts to it that fit together.
- The more I divide and reproduce, the smaller I get. But I can expand in size again by forming an auxospore using sexual reproduction.
- My DNA is inside my nucleoid.
Everywhere! Everywhere that has water, anyway. Fresh water, salt water, rivers, ponds, on the surface, on the seafloor, anywhere! I really like water.
I usually try to stick to fresh water bodies in the spring and fall when I thrive in them. (Although, I can live anywhere year-round and do quite well.)
But it’s easy for me to get to salt water in the summer and winter months. I may not have a ton of flagella, and I may not be very fast, but I can always hop on a rolling wave and get from one place to the next, from one body of water to another, to one country to another. Sometimes I also hitchhike by attaching myself to the legs of birds and other animals, who can then transport me around. Some might call this freeloading, but I call it taking advantage of the resources around me while putting forth as little effort as possible.
Yeah, I know stereotypes are bad and all, but that doesn’t mean we all aren’t classified. I am, too.
My name is: Eukaryota, chromalveolata, heterokontophyta, bacillariophyceae
But diatoms can be classified in two orders:
- Centrale, which means I have valve striae symmetrically arranged from my central areola.
- Pennale, which means my valve striae are arranged bilaterally symmetrical from a line.