Sarah Spaulding visited Albany High School to meet with students in Lenore Sparks biology class. The Freshman students would like to know the answers to these, and other questions about diatoms!

1. Do the diatoms ultimately make fossil fuels?
2. How do you extract oils mechanically from diatoms for use in industry?
3. Can I see individual diatom glass cell walls if I looked at diatomaceous earth with a microscope?
4. Why are shells not made of silica, but not of calcium?
5. How long between cell divisions in vegetative division and how often do they form auxospores?
6. Where do diatoms live?
7. How can we make diatoms grow faster to help us engineer our way out of climate change?
8. Why are the chloroplasts yellow instead of green?
9. What organelle makes the oil?
10. How and what lays out the glass with such fidelity?
11. Who eats diatoms?
12. Why do diatoms stink?
13. Do diatoms that live in the sea ice make the ice melt faster?
14. How are the glass pores made? Do the shell-like glass houses have pores too?
15. What proteins make the goo around the auxospore babies? What is the goo made out of?


  • Parent Teachers Award (PTSA)

    Grant for purchase of Foldscope Microscopes for Freshman Biology students - $500 awarded to Lenore Sparks


Sarah Spaulding

Content Editor, Symmetric Biraphid Diatoms Diatoms of North America, Editoral Review Board

Ecologist US Geological Survey

Lenore Sparks

Science Teacher, Albany High School

Image Credit: John Wehr
Filaments of Fragilaria cf. capucina
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