Actinoptychus diatom, light micrograph

Actinoptychus diatom, light micrograph

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Caption: Differential interference contrast (DIC) light micrograph of Actinoptychus senarius, a centric marine diatom with an ornamented cell wall, or frustule. The nucleus is visible in the centre. Diatoms are a group of photosynthetic, single-celled algae containing about 10,000 species. They form an important part of the plankton at the base of the marine and freshwater food chains. The characteristic feature of diatoms is their intricately patterned, glass-like cell wall, or frustule. The frustule often has rows of tiny holes, known as striae. Magnification: x500 when printed 10 centimetres wide.

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