Marine diatoms rose to prominence about 100 million years ago and today generate most of the organic matter that serves as food for life in the sea. They exist in a dilute world where compounds essential for growth are recycled and shared, and they greatly influence global climate, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and marine ecosystem function. How these essential organisms will respond to the rapidly changing conditions in today's oceans is critical for the health of the environment and is being uncovered by studies of their genomes.
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I am grateful to members of my laboratory and to G. Rocap and S. Francis for discussion and edits of the manuscript. Support was provided by funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Marine Microbiology Initiative, the US National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
The author declares no competing financial interests.
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Armbrust, E. The life of diatoms in the world's oceans. Nature 459, 185–192 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature08057
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