One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A single-celled alga which has a cell wall of silica. Many kinds are planktonic, and extensive fossil deposits have been found.
Class Bacillariophyceae, division Chromophycota or Heterokontophyta (or phylum Bacillariophyta, kingdom Protista)
- ‘The slime molds are now known to be a mixture of three or four unrelated groups, and the oomycetes are now classified in the Chromista, with the diatoms and brown algae.’
- ‘Many are planktonic like the diatoms and Sargassum, floating free near the water surface, and being carried along by the surface currents.’
- ‘For example, replacement of diatoms with chlorophytes will alter cycling of silica because diatoms require silica and chlorophytes do not.’
- ‘From single-celled algae called diatoms to the story of a man who plants acorns, IDFuel reminds us that inspiration for design is all around us.’
- ‘Algae, diatoms, dinoflagellates, and photosynthetic bacteria all belong to this group of organisms.’
Mid 19th century: from modern Latin Diatoma (genus name), from Greek diatomos ‘cut in two’, from diatemnein ‘to cut through’.
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