Diatom Wreath

December 24, 2018


December 2018 Viewer's ChoicePhotographer: Southern Maine Community College Photography Class
Summary Author: John Stetson 

This wreath is certainly festive and seasonal, but it's just a bit too small, about the width of a human hair, to place on the front door to welcome guests. It's made from a common species of diatom (Eucampia zodiacus). Why can diatoms look so much like stained glass windows in a Cathedral? They're made from opaline silica, SiO2 -- the material of opals and glass.

Diatoms are critically important in that they're the beginning of the food chain. Aquatic plants (of which diatoms are the most prolific) supply 50 percent of the oxygen on Earth, and when they die they sink to the bottom of the oceans, acting as a carbon sink. Photo taken on December 2, 2018.