Thomas Shannon at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Limnology has created this website dedicated to the diatoms one can find in Wisconsin's Lake Mendota (and, by extension, other lakes in the region.) Diatoms are a type of algae that play a crucial role in the ecosystem: they are an important food source for zooplankton and insects and, through the process of photosynthesis, create a good portion of the oxygen we breathe. Interestingly, diatoms have an outer shell of silicon dioxide - otherwise known as glass. Visitors can learn more about diatoms and learn how to identify different types of diatoms by navigating to the Diatoms by Shape section. This website contains lucid descriptions and an extensive glossary of terms. For these reasons, science educators may find Mendota Diatoms to be an especially useful resource to use with students. Those with limited to no familiarity with diatoms or Wisconsin algae can learn quite a bit by visiting the Learn, Shape, and Identify sections.
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