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Protists with intricate silica skeletons

Fabulous Phaeodarians

Four phaeodarians display their intricate silica skeletons, each about 1 millimeter in diameter—easily visible to the naked eye. They are protists, unicellular organisms that are abundant in oceans worldwide, and are key links in the marine food web. Phaeodarians eat bacteria, other protists, small crustaceans, and organic detritus. In turn, they are eaten by gelatinous zooplankton and copepods. Biologist Rebecca Gast collected these phaeodarians in a plankton tow in the Southern Ocean. This picture is featured in the 2013 WHOI wall calendar, which is available from the Exhibit Center in Woods Hole. (Photo by Rebecca Gast, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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