Where Do Diatoms Live?


Quick Answer

Most diatoms live in open water, though they are found in soil and other damp areas to a lesser extent. Most importantly, diatoms found in the world's oceans contribute 45 percent of all primary production in the bottom of the food chain.

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Full Answer

Wherever they live in the water, all diatoms effectively live in a silica glass house. They encase themselves in a frustrule, which is a silica wall protecting the inner components of the diatom cell. The frustrules have identifiable taxonomic features such as microscopic spikes, pores and spines that occur during development and allow scientists to distinguish over 100,000 species of diatoms.

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