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Botany science fair project:
How do diatom reproduction react to variable amounts of light?




Science Fair Project Information
Title: How do diatom reproduction react to variable amounts of light?
Subject: Botany
Grade level: Middle School - Grades 7-9
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Medium
Awards:
Honorable mention at the Greater Vancouver Regional Science Fair
The Cryptozoology Award.
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair
Description: A few flasks, each containing diatoms (Odontella longicruris), are exposed to different light conditions for a few days. The color of the diatom culture, measured by a light spectrometer, is related to the number of the diatoms because of the chlorophyll they produce when exposed to light in the photosynthesis process.
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2007/thom7h2/
Short Background

Diatoms (Greek: "to cut", i.e., "cut in half") are a big group of eukaryotic algae. They are one of the most common types of phytoplankton. Most diatoms are unicellular, although some form chains or simple colonies. A characteristic feature of diatom cells is that they are encased within a unique cell wall made of silica. These walls show a wide diversity in form, some quite beautiful and ornate, but usually consist of two asymmetrical sides with a split between them, which gives the group name.

Diatoms are a major group of eukaryotic algae, and are one of the most common types of phytoplankton. Most diatoms are unicellular, although they can exist as colonies in the shape of filaments or ribbons (e.g. Fragillaria), fans (Meridion), zigzags (Tabellaria), or stellate colonies (Asterionella). Diatoms are producers. A characteristic feature of diatom cells is that they are encased within a unique cell wall made of silica (hydrated silicon dioxide) called a frustule. These frustules show a wide diversity in form, some quite beautiful and ornate, but usually consist of two asymmetrical sides with a split between them, hence the group name. Fossil evidence suggests that they originated during, or before, the early Jurassic Period. Diatom communities are a popular tool for monitoring environmental conditions, past and present, and are commonly used in studies of water quality.

For More Information: Diatoms

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)

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