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.
The water is a beautiful place for us diatoms to live, but it’s no vacation. Since there are so many of us, we’re a pretty important step on the food chain. All kinds of sea life eat us, like krill, plankton, fish, mollusks, and whales. I’ve lost a good number of friends and family to hungry creatures. I just hope I’m not next.
This romantic picture was taken at my friend’s wedding to himself. Some binary fission happened shortly after this. ;D
Family is pretty important to me. We diatoms like to stick together - literally. Our silica valves allow us to attach to each other in stacks and form colonies.
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.
You see that atmosphere? I made 70% of it.
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:
If you want to know what I look like, here’s a diagram of my structure.