Sunday, May 12, 2013

What Good is a Diatom
What Good is a Diatom

"Breweries, cough syrup, paint, plastic, insecticides, toothpaste, polishes, ... concrete, animal feed, fertilizers, ... dynamite. It is astounding where the remains of diatoms can be found. One might say that many of the wheels making modern life go 'round are studded with the vacant shells of these tiny phytoplankton, which are used as filters, fillers, insulation, and mild abrasives."
"Diatom shells (more correctly called frustules) are composed of silica, the essence of glass. Because of this their beauty whipped Victorian era microscopists into giddy covetousness. But most frustules escaped the diatom connoisseurs' slides by sinking to the ocean or lake floor after the diatom died."
"Diatoms supply the oxygen in every fourth breath you take. Diatoms are critical in the ecological food chain of streams, lakes and oceans. It's thought diatoms could help slow Earth's current warming trend; scientists have suggested that seeding the ocean with iron to stimulate diatom reproduction could help remove carbon dioxide from circulation."

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