So my research involves examining diatoms, which are free-floating aquatic phytoplankton with silicified cell walls (a substance similar to glass!). A lot of my time in the lab is spent culturing different species of diatoms, which is interesting but sometimes dissatisfying–since diatoms are microscopic, most of my cultures look like vials of clear or brownish water.
However, I’m always amazed when I actually look at my cultures under a microscope. Diatoms are one of the most diverse groups of phytoplankton, with over 200 known genera and an estimated +100,000 species floating around in our aquatic systems. This diversity is apparent when you magnify them, and to demonstrate that I thought I’d share some photos I took of my diatoms using a camera attached to the lab microscope. Happy Photography Friday!