© Noé SARDET/Christian SARDET/Tara Océans/CNRS Images



Chaîne de cellules de diatomée

String of cells of the diatom thalassionema nitzschoides, observed using differential interference microscopy (DIC). Diatoms are protists (unicellular organisms having a nucleus), and a source of scientific interest for multiple reasons. They also contain chloroplasts rich in green pigments such as chlorophyll, and make up a large proportion of the biomass in the marine food chain. The chloroplasts enable them to capture and convert solar energy, generating oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide gas in the process. By this means, diatoms produce one quarter of the Earth's oxygen. They may either live in isolation or else form - as seen here - long filaments, fans, zig-zags or spirals. These diatoms were collected at the Villefranche-sur-Mer Oceanology Observatory.

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