SUMMARY: This article talks about the evolution, cell structure, and ecological role of diatoms. The first section is an introduction to what diatoms are. The second section talks about the evolution of photosynthesis (from cyanobacteria to eukaryotes with chloroplast). The third section explains the significance of the diatom evolutionary bloom in the world’s ocean ecosystem and geochemical cycling of carbon and silica. The fourth section looks at the genomes of diatoms and highlights some key differences that have helped them adapt. The fifth section talks about their roles in the oceans. The last section talks about how climate can change diatom growth and distribution.
LESSON COMMENTS: Topics that are covered by this article include: photosynthesis, carbon cycle, carbon-silicate cycle, fossil records, layers of the ocean, evolution of prokaryotes, eukaryotes and endosymbiosis (mitochondria and chloroplast), and the geosphere (Pangea breaking up) influencing the biosphere. Each section can be divided and read individually. Overall, this is a very easy paper to read for both teachers and high school students.
Benoiston, A. S., Ibarbalz, F. M., Bittner, L., Guidi, L., Jahn, O., Dutkiewicz, S., & Bowler, C. (2017). The evolution of diatoms and their biogeochemical functions. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 372(1728), 20160397.