About glossary terms

Diatom terms are specialized and help diatomists describe structures, particularly of the diatom cell wall. Terms, however, are often confusing, redundant or simply outdated. In this glossary, we attempt to present terms in a clear manner.

Many diatom terms are specific to a particular taxonomic group, such as to a family or genus. For example, partecta are structures found only in Mastogloia and carinoportulae are structures found only in Orthoseira.

In other cases, the same term is applied to different structures in different genera; the annulus of Thalassiosira is a different structure than the annulus of Geissleria.

Some terms are used across genera for structures that are not homologous. For example, the stigma of Gomphonema is a different structure than the stigma of Luticola.

Contact us if you have suggestions on improvements.