Kindy Houinato


I am a fourth-year student completing an Honour in Economics and a Major in Environmental Science. This summer, I am interested in understanding the advantage and disadvantages associated with the different chains formed by diatoms. Literature suggests that the shape and length of chains appear to be determined by several environmental factors, such as effectiveness of grazer defense (Sournia 1982; Smetacek et al. 2004; Bergkvist et al. 2012), adjustment of buoyancy (Smayda & Boleyn 1966; Smayda 1970; Takabayashi et al. 2006) , optimization nutrient uptake through micro shear (Reynolds 1984, Karp-Boss et al. 1996), and in pennate planktonic diatoms, a possibility for entanglement of chains to retain proximity for sexual reproduction (Kooistra 2007). My goal will be to gather available data on diatom traits from the literature. This can then be used to formulate new hypothesis about the purpose of chains or provide better insight on the current ones.