Embarking on the “100 Diatom Genomes Project”

Diatoms, a class of microalgae, are found in nearly all marine and freshwater habitats and are the most species-rich algal class, with at least 100,000 species. They are important to the world’s eco-system and contribute to 20% of global carbon fixation and oxygen production. However, with genomic information from only about 10 diatoms, our ability […]

What diatoms have we covered in 2015-2020?

DOM #59 might down as the shortest Diatom of the Month ever, so please do take a good look at our performance so far! Let’s see what diatom ‘characters’ have been the protagonists of our stories so far. From November 2015 to September 2020, our DOM blog series talked about 31 different diatom genera in […]

Hidden Diversity in Pinnularia borealis, and Where it Lives

When we think about diatoms, we tend to imagine all kinds of aquatic habitats, ranging from oceans and coastal ecosystems, to lakes, rivers, ponds and puddles. However, soils and terrestrial mosses also harbor a large diversity of diatoms (Foets et al. 2020). Genera like Hantzschia, Luticola, Muelleria, Humidophila and Pinnularia thrive in terrestrial habitats around […]

Food vs. Sex

**Spoiler: read the entire post before feeling attracted of scrolling down to watching the cool movies of Seminavis movement in the videos section** I am a microbe psychologist, a description that I made up while curating the @biotweeps Twitter account. I study the behavior of unicellular organisms, particularly those that are photosynthetic and live in […]

What is behind a name? Cutting a long story short: how one of the most common Gomphonema species turned out to be – not a Gomphonema!

Around 2005 we, the Diatom Research Group at the BGBM Berlin, cooperated with colleagues from the Georg-August-University Göttingen who wanted to identify diatoms and cyanobacteria using a predecessor method, today called DNA metabarcoding. Since our group had not yet gone molecular, our task was to identify the few newly established cultures and to assist in […]

Melosira westii

This month’s diatom story revolves around a centric species that tells us about a fascinating sea level change saga over the course of millennia. A thirteenth century story known as the Gutasaga describes how Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea, rose from the sea at night and violently sank again during the day […]

50/50

Just over a year ago I had a stroke. It affected my speech and several times a day the nurse or therapist would check on my progress and have me repeat very specific phrases: “baseball”, “huckleberry”, “no ifs, ands, or buts about it”, “fifty-fifty”. Every time I said that last one, it made me think […]

Antarctic diatom growth in a light- and iron-limited environment

Phytoplankton are the primary producers in marine and freshwaters and key components of ecological food webs. Their growth is often shaped by the presence of important resources, such as light, nutrients (trace metals and macronutrients such as nitrogen and silica) and an organism’s optimal growth temperature. In certain regions of the ocean, phytoplankton productivity is […]

Introducing the Diatom Web Academy, first of its name (that I know of)!

I currently have the fun and exciting role of serving as chair of the Society for Freshwater Science’s Diatom Taxonomic Certification Committee. The biggest motivation for this group is to develop a program that helps federal and state resource managers in the US obtain diatom data that are accurate, consistent, and reliable for use in […]

Decade in Review

Since our last post we welcomed in a new year and a new decade, so we want to take the opportunity to reflect on some of the great diatom science from the 2010s. This month Nick Schulte, with input from the rest of the DOM editorial board, put into the spotlight a paper or project […]

Year in Review

December’s Diatom of the Month marks our 50th blog post! Thank you all for your continued support. This month we are reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new one. Keep reading for data and thoughts on our annual readership and last month’s survey responses. At the end, we also invite you […]

You

November’s Diatom of the Month is you. Aka Diatoma readerii (Fig. 1). Figure 1. Diatoma readerii. In reality, blogger and co-editor Nick Schulte dressed as the diatom he wishes he could be (Chamaepinnularia cymatopleura). Note the white scale bar and plate-like, golden chloroplasts. This month we, the editorial board of DOM, want to ask you, […]

Nitzschia fenestralis

How do you define a new species of Nitzschia? An example from an Ethiopian crater lake Around 50 km south east of the hectic Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) is a group of maars – explosion crater lakes – surrounded by hotels on the lake edges and populated by people practicing water sports. Around 65 m below […]

Cyclotella paleo-ocellata

A palaeoecological tale of Cyclotella paleo-ocellata from Lake Kinneret.

Diatom blooms and their effects on human health

Humans have long benefited from algae in many ways; from breathing the oxygen released during photosynthesis or consuming algae and organisms that feed on algae, to using their components and extracts in everything from foods to fuels, medicines and cosmetics. However, as Paracelsus wisely said, “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison, the […]