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Most of the colonies of these diatoms were shaped like a bird's foot, but some were simply zig-zagged. These were less common than the Chaetoceros spp. in this sample. The second to last photo shows the same type of diatom but turned at a different angle, so at first I thought it was a different type.
A marine biologist on board skimmed some plankton using really fine mesh nets and we took a drop from that sample and placed it under a microscope. The sample was skimmed in Izhut Bay just off Afognak Island in somewhat shallow water (less than 200 feet).
Diatoms are a type of algae. They are an important part of both the food chain and also the creation of oxygen in our atmosphere. Marine algae is estimated to release between 70 and 80 percent of the oxygen in our atmosphere! Hard to believe since emphasis always seems to be on true plants.