By Mary England Sept. 2, 2021
Most individuals would assume almost all of the oxygen we breath comes from trees, and while trees are nothing short of paramount for our existence, diatoms play an unbelievably crucial role in our survival. These single-celled organisms are responsible for 50% of breathable air for all beings. They remove and convert carbon dioxide from the air into oxygen and carbon in the form of sugar. Moreover, using photosynthesis, diatoms produce sugar from the suns energy.
Everyone knows we need to save the trees, but we also need to save the diatoms. The recent rise in climate change is severely affecting diatoms, as their population is inevitably decreasing as a result. Furthermore, diatom populations in different areas are being affected due to floods and droughts, which ultimately affects where they can function and grow.
Diatoms also play a vital role in the food chain. They are food for zooplankton, which are food for a number of other species. Ultimately, the ocean (as well as other water bodies), the species found within these water bodies, and the whole world is dependent on diatoms for survival.
We must not underestimate the capabilities of diatoms. Although they are single-celled microscopic eukaryotes, they have a macroscopic effect on the world.