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AH_Diatoms_7660.jpg
Diatoms on a microscope slide, arrangement by world-renowned diatomist Kalus Kemp. Diatoms are single-celled algae whose cell walls are constructed from silica and are known as a frustule.  Diatoms are the most dominant and widespread group of eukaryotes on Earth and come under the term phytoplankton (microscopic photosynthetic plankton) and as such provide the organic biomass that most of ocean life depends on. Diatoms produce approximately 25% of the oxgen we breathe as well as being central to the global carbon cycle, responsible for approximately 20% of global carbon fixation through photosynthesis. Additionally they play major roles in the cycling of other nutrients such as silicon and nitrogen. Diatoms are thought to be major contributors to crude oil deposits, following their deposition and burial on the ocean floor. Specific diatom biomarkers are currently used to locate potential sites for crude oil drilling. Focus-stacked, inverted image. This circular composition is 0.9 mm across. Image is x67 magnification when printed at 10 cm across.