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Every genus of diatom found in sediment samples from sites in West Cork are shown in the list under the diatoms tab on the right. The diatom page will display in a new tab. For a list of images of Diatom genera, go here.
Diatoms are a globally widespread and numerically and environmentally significant group of single celled algae belonging to the class Bacillariophyceae. They have silica skeletons, or frameworks, made from a form of hydrated silica, similar to opal. This framework is durable and easily preserved within sediments, though fragile and subject to breakage in high energy environments. Diatoms are almost exclusively photosynthetic autotrophs, that is, they manufacture their nutritional needs from the environment, and so most are not predatory on other organisms. By determining the species represented by the fossilised remains, and relating the preferred environments of those species, it is possible to make some determinations about the environment at the time of deposition. Also see here.