Diatoms from the 3rd dimension: Integrating 3D computer modeling for diatom research

Description: What is the volume of a diatom? A question that has eluded ecologists thus far. Attempts have been made to approximate the biovolume of many plankton (Hillebrand et al. 1999, Sun and Liu 2003) but rely on geometric models to estimate biovolume. These attempts also lump together the frustule with the internal volume. Accurate biovolume models on the microscale are essential for estimating global biomass and primary production and influence on global biogeochemical cycles. I build and test 3D computer models of a diatom population to reveal more accurate biovolume estimates and parse out the volume into the hard outer shell and inner cytoplasm components. I will also present on research applications for 3D diatom models as well as teaching uses and give direction for possible future applications.

Target Audience: This talk is targeted for a general scientific audience with special regard for diatom taxonomists, ecologists, and silica geochemists.