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Steve Gschmeissner
Amphora sp. diatom
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM)

Diatoms are single-celled photosynthetic algae, of which there are about 100,000 species. They have mineralised cell walls (frustules) that contain silica and provide protection and support.

Diatoms form an important part of the plankton, which are at the base of the marine and freshwater food chains.

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