Definitions for diatomˈdaɪ ə təm, -ˌtɒm
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word diatom
microscopic unicellular marine or freshwater colonial alga having cell walls impregnated with silica
One of the Diatomaceae, a family of minute unicellular algae having a siliceous covering of great delicacy.
Origin: From διά + τέμνειν, i.e., "cut in half"
one of the Diatomaceae, a family of minute unicellular Algae having a siliceous covering of great delicacy, each individual multiplying by spontaneous division. By some authors diatoms are called Bacillariae, but this word is not in general use
a particle or atom endowed with the vital principle
Origin: [Gr. dia`tomos cut in two. See Diatomous.]
Diatoms are a major group of algae, and are among the most common types of phytoplankton. Most diatoms are unicellular, although they can exist as colonies in the shape of filaments or ribbons, fans, zigzags, or stars. Diatoms are producers within the food chain. A unique feature of diatom cells is that they are encased within a cell wall made of silica called a frustule. These frustules show a wide diversity in form, but are usually almost bilaterally symmetrical, hence the group name. The symmetry is not perfect since one of the valves is slightly larger than the other allowing one valve to fit inside the edge of the other. Fossil evidence suggests that they originated during, or before, the early Jurassic Period. Only male gametes of centric diatoms are capable of movement by means of flagella. Diatom communities are a popular tool for monitoring environmental conditions, past and present, and are commonly used in studies of water quality.
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