Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany

scan11.jpg (59775 bytes)


Biological Significance 

Why study diatoms? Diatoms constitute approximately 40% of the phytoplankton in the world, and they therefore make up 20-25% of the world's net primary productivity. They played a large role in the development of mariculture and sea farming. Diatoms were used as food for the larvae of echinoderms, mollusks, and shrimp. They have also been an indicator of water quality and pollution, as they are able to uptake and bind both organic and inorganic substances (pollutants). In addition, diatoms have been the subject of a great deal of interesting research. Permeability studies and silicon metabolism studies have been conducted using diatoms. During the present day, these studies continue as there continues to be a great deal to learn about the world of diatoms.

Back to the Introduction to Diatoms page...

copyright Jennifer Shin 1999.

Last updated: Feb. 05, 2009