Diatom frustules: nanostructures at the base of ocean food web

  • Beardall, John (Primary Chief Investigator (PCI))
  • Mitchell, James (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Pillar, Rachel (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Lal, Ratnesh (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • McGinn, Patrick (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • Morel, Francois (Partner Investigator (PI))

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

Diatoms, unicellular algae, produce 25% of Earth's primary production and are the base of aquatic food webs. The thousands of diatom species are encased in porous, ornate silica frustules, each with unique, fine detail that has fascinated microscopists for centuries. The function of the frustule detail is unknown. We will reveal this function by examining how molecules are directed by and interact with frustule detail. We present observational and experimental evidence from our labs suggesting that the frustule detail is responsible for the success of diatoms. This work will significantly expand our understanding of diatom's success.
Effective start/end date2/01/0931/12/11


  • Australian Research Council (ARC)