Microscope Monday: Diatoms of Belize

Ecologists from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center spotted this diatom, called Navicula, drifting in the waters of Belize. Diatoms are microscopic algae, or phytoplankton, roughly the width of a human hair or smaller. But though they’re called algae and use photosynthesis to get their energy, diatoms aren’t plants. They belong to a completely different group, known as Chromista.

(Photo: SERC Phytoplankton Lab. Artistically arranged)