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© Philippe ELIES / Valentin FOULON / Natalia LLOPIS MONFERRER / PIMM - LEMAR / UBO / CNRS Images



Dancing in the twilight

Introducing Euphysetta lucani, a star ballet dancer in the Rhizaria company! Normally found in the depths of the ocean, this specimen was seen floating near the surface in the North Atlantic. Although measuring a mere 250 micrometres, this single-celled planktonic animal may play a fundamental role in marine ecosystems. By extracting silicon from the oceans in the form of biogenic silica in order to build their tiny glass skeletons, these protists compete with microalgae called diatoms that live at the surface. So, what effect do they have on the biogeochemical silicon cycle in the oceans? Recent findings appear to show that Rhizaria such as Euphysetta lucani play a key role there. The incessant ballet of these tiny ocean dwellers still holds many discoveries in store! This image is a winner of the 2021 La preuve par l'image (LPPI) competition.

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