line drawing of algal shapes in blue, red, and yellowThe composition of an organism’s cell wall is the fourth characteristic used to classify an alga. Diatoms are unique as their cell wall is made of silica. The intricate designs within their silica cell walls and varying symmetry are the primary characteristic used to identify down to the genera and species of diatom. This piece was made to imitate their complex structure and ornamentation. Through biological necessity, these algae made of glass houses have developed beautiful adaptations that allow the inside of the cell to communicate with the outside world.

Maggie Anderson
Second year Master’s student
Environmental Engineering