Completed in 2018
ARTIST STATEMENT: Diatoms are tiny, single-celled aquatic plants. A microscope reveals they have complex multilayered cell walls with stunning patterns. A liter of sea water may contain up to a million of these microscopic algae. Diatoms generate about 25 percent of our oxygen and absorb 30 percent of earth’s carbon dioxide. Water temperature and nutrients influence diatom growth, but this complicated balance is also affected by climate change and ocean acidification. Some (including toxic species) are becoming more prevalent while other species are declining or moving to colder waters. These changes may affect the future ability of the ocean to sequester excess carbon dioxide. Fish, bird and mammal populations may also change because they depend on the diatom-based food chain. The microscopic beauty of diatoms is a reminder that even the tiniest organisms are incredibly important for life on earth.
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