Vis-a-thon 2021

Diagramming Diatoms


Katie Roche Doctoral Student, University of Rhode Island, Biological and Environmental Sciences

COLLABORATOR Abby Tuckett MArch Candidate, Rhode Island School of Design, Architecture


Joy Ko

This project created three-dimensional representations of Pseudo-nitzschia cells that show variation in abundance, diversity, and toxicity through the seasons. By experimenting and playing with the structure of this diatom's silica frustules, two pieces were made to represent the diatoms and their relationships with shellfish in Narragansett Bay.

INFORMATION ABOUT OYSTERS Oysters are filter feeders—meaning they remain stationary and just filter water through them to collect food floating by. They consume both phytoplankton (including Pseudo-nitzschia) and zooplankton (larger, non-photosynthetic microorganisms). Oysters are really important to estuarine and coastal ecosystems like Narragansett Bay because of this filtering. They can filter out pollutants and improve water quality, which helps other organisms to survive. Oysters are harvested from both wild populations and aquaculture in Narragansset Bay. Aquaculture is essentially farming of oysters, where juvenile oysters are "planted" on structures in the bay, grown, and harvested.

Tools Used in the Project

Acrylic  Vellum Rhino 3D


© Diagramming Diatoms, 2021

This material is based upon work supported in part by the National Science Foundation under EPSCoR Cooperative Agreement #OIA-1655221.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.