If it were not for diatoms we would not be here, nor would most other forms of carbon life, as I recall learning that the greater conversion of CO2-->CO/O2 was accomplished via diatoms, perhaps 55% of the O2 was specifically due to the tenacious ability of diatoms to not only survive and multiply in great numbers, but to adapt through evolution as to most effectively do their mission-critical terraforming job. Whereas today the diatom populations are estimated at less than 50%, in other words of folks not giving a flying hocky puck, it has become humanity-1 diatoms-0. Thus perhaps globally we're obtaining as little as 25% of our O2 via the remaining diatoms. That's apparently OK by the likes of our current leadership, and thankfully from our "high standards and accountability" education of our population is willing to be snookered, as there has become no point in asking those nice folks to understand anything that's not wrapped up in yet another mainstream status quo "happy meal".
We're to never mind all of the increasing "dead zones" within oceans where nothing much lives except jellyfish because, there's no ongoing O2 being released by diatoms, and of nearly all inland waters and wetlands have been polluted to some degree, that plus the fact that the albedo of Earth is currently only 30% (a 14% drop) as opposed to the original albedo of 35%, which represents that more solar energy (5% more) is being converted to heat, while the available spectrums of visible, near-UV and UV/a are being diminished due to the extensive atmospheric pollution. Perhaps the GWB "so what's the difference" policy isn't going to cut it anymore, as for certain the 1°C/decade rise in temperature isn't an illusion, and it's not trivial.
BTW; we can't hardly eat jellyfish but, they most certainly can eat us. Makes you wonder if this ever expanding dead-sea of dead-zones aren't a wee bit more evolutionary than not.
Unfortunately, because diatoms are so darn interesting, as well as so critically important, there are thousands of research and study reports as published, and countless others listed within the internet. These are just the first few links and snips of what's available which do not yet include anything as pertaining to flying diatoms, though soon enough that may change;
Diatoms can live almost everywhere that's even slightly wet, with over a hundred thousand identified species which individually adapt to their surrounding environment, as well as the available spectrum of light. Their life cycle is essentially capable of immortality by way of doubling upon itself each day, that is unless mother nature and/or humanity has interfered with that cycle, which of course we have done just that, big time. Of course, if there was to be little if any nighttime, and the illuminated environment was just right, that rate of reproduction upon doubling takes place every few hours.
Some of us already realize that diatomaceous earth is comprised of nearly 100% diatoms. As a bulk substance having been commonly used as filtering agents, as insulating materials, abrasives in the likes of toothpaste, silver polish and even most common as paint fatteners. One ccm contains 4.6 million diatom shells of silica, perhaps a bit more if slightly compacted.
Diatomaceous Earth(DE) is essentially the deposited skeletals of diatoms;
To offer some further perspective as to how much diatom deposits amounted to from just the last go around, the white cliffs of Dover offer roughly 250 meters worth of the exposed diatomaceous earth, which is essentially the skeletons of diatoms, whereas the past 2000 years of humanity is perhaps responsible for not more than 0.1% of that level of contribution, with the most recent 200 years seriously going into the toilet at accomplishing far less than 0.1 mm/year.
BTW; those white cliffs of Dover had to be under water for thousands of years in order for each of those layers of deposits to have accumulated in the first place, and that should give you some notions as to how much higher the oceans must have been long before humanity ever existed, that plus the tectonic push-up that further elevated the entire ridge. Obviously Earth had been noticeably better illuminated than of today, and most likely a whole lot warmer and obviously humid to boot. All of the sudden, the notion by some telling us that if of all ice melted being equal to 80+ meters on top of what we now have isn't that far fetched. Fortunately, by my esitmates, it'll be 65 thousand years before we're situated right nextdoor to the Sirius star system, although the house warming affects should become rather noticable in 50 thousand years. Thus GWB is right with his; "so what's the differenve" policy, as by then we'll either be smart enough to save our sould or we'll be long gone.
Silica (H2 SiO4) is probably the only form available for diatom/algae growth
Silicon is one of the most abundant elements in the earth's crust, second only to oxygen. Though it is found at such great quantities, most of this silicon is not available to organisms due to its insoluble nature (in rocks, for example). When silicon is in solution it is usually present in the form of orthosilicic acid (Si(OH)4).
Both the DV cyanobacteria and the DV diatoms are very efficient at soaking up this blue light. They have pigments that allow them to absorb around 80% of the light that hits them. Of this light, an average 90% is converted into the electrochemical reactions that comprise photosynthesis. The pigments are an adaptation that helps the cyanobacteria and diatoms survive and thrive in the Dry Valleys.
Factors affecting photosynthesis
There are several factors which affect the rate of photosynthesis of diatoms. These factors include light intensity, and light intensity differences. Light quality is also important, diatoms experience a high rate of photosynthesis when exposed to wavelengths of light between 500 and 550 nm. The temperature of the water is another factor that affects photosynthesis, diatoms are very successful in cold water.
Diatoms are eucaryotic, fresh water, salt water and soil inhabitants. They contain chlorophyll. Diatoms have a unique cell wall with bivalve silica exoskeleton and pectin called a frustule. They are unicellular and sometimes colonial. Diatoms reproduce by fission (asexual), motile zoospores (asexual) and fusion (sexual). Diatoms are also used as an insectide.
However, take further notice that diatoms are actually quite good at their evolution of adapting to processing different amounts and wavelengths of light, some of which falls well into the UV/a spectrum, whereas the near-UV of 375~425 nm being of prime interest with regard to the sorts of illumination influx that's available from a star system like Sirius. Diatoms are capable of reproducing themselves in bi-cell divisions every few hours, where it has been estimated that a single diatom could produce up to 1e9 diatoms, thus each of those reproduced cells doing the same until diatoms rule the world, as in one extremely thick and slimy covering until there's no further room in the inn.
Sirius A1V Magnitude -1.5
This spectrum chart of Sirius offers a 375~450 nm as the prime range of peak output, with a fairly respectable amount of energy available to 480 nm, where a good portion of diatoms should like this sort of photon resourse, as it penetrates sufficiently deep without generating the heat that's associated of the 550+nm of our sun, plus there's still a good level of UV/a to being had, that plus whatever Sirius/b kicks in with its 50 year cycle of mostlly the UV/a as representing it's peak output.
Can diatoms actually fly?
The above paragraph was trying to offer a perfectly natural methodology as to what the KECK-II team had officially recorded as the nighttime greenish glow of Venus. Of course, this greenish atmospheric glow of ionized O2 wasn't well publicized (once published in NATURE), nor offered to my focus upon better understanding those various concentrated illumination spots coming off the daytime and according to members of the BAA of visually recording a few of those within the nighttime side. Even when I'd asked the questions of what's potentially capable of creating such spot illuminations, never once had this much larger and interesting greenish glow been offered as another good example of what shouldn't be there because it's supposedly so hot and nasty. Whereas usual, I had to discover that officially recorded KECK-II image on my own, as in four years after the fact. Now that I know for a fact that diatoms convert CO2-->CO/O2, it seems perfectly logical to perceive that Venus diatoms do in fact know how to fly. Of course unlike Mars, since there's so much available energy that's so easily accessible, there's plenty of other element interactions and of their possible alternatives for releasing and subsequently ionizing O2, but just try to get such a topic going isn't the lest bit possible if there's any slim notion of even a past (pre-greenhouse) civilization, much less survivors that we've overlooked.
Certainly I haven't been to Venus, though I believe those laws of physics should function as well there as here, although in order to prove that Venus physics are the same as Earth physics, and possibly adaptive biology wise, the Venus Express team from ESA is soon going in for the kill. Too bad our NASA has been so super-glued to that cold-war space toilet, you know, the intellectual incest of skewed science and the physics that can't do anything that might otherwise shed any truth and nothing but the truth about our moon, though perhaps once the Venus Express team has those actual atmospheric samples from Venus, plus better images of what I'd discovered over four years ago, and of hopefully their instruments cruising at a low enough altitude as to acquiring something better than 25 meter resolution of what the likes of the Istar Terra zone should have to offer, as then we'll know s great deal more of what has been there all along, and if perchance there are greenhouse survivors. Once the ESA team has become the rightful trillionaires, their next steps will be without delay, and even their claim upon establishing the LSE-CM/ISS seems to be the next most logical step if expeditions are to ever reach the likes of Venus or Mars, without their having to die in the process.
Regarding the population of diatoms upon Earth, especially of a time when life was good, meaning that a secondary light source of the near-UV spectrum was enabling nearly a 24/7 opportunity of diatom cell divisions that might have reached if nor surpassed the multiple of four divisions per day.
Just to offer an example of what's conservatively possible, as it exist right here as of today; if there were an initial population of merely 4 diatoms per ccm, and those divided but once per 24 hours, within 30 days we've have a population of 4.3e9 diatoms as created from that initial ccm pod of pristine instead of polluted water, thus in spite of the expected dispersements and intervening consumption of both the living and dead diatoms, it's easy enough to realize how depths of tens of meters in diatomaceous earth was created over a few thousands of years (specifically I'm thinking 20~25,000 years) during such times when the local illumination was supplemented and the notion of deforestation, relentless seafood strip mining and artificial pollution wasn't invented, thus cleaner water gave way to greater photon penetration which boosted not only diatom growth at perhaps a rate of 4 divisions per 24 hours, but nearly all other forms of plant and animal life benefitted as well, thus cutting down the levels of CO2 as clearly noted by numerous research groups coming up with essentially the same numbers.
Fortunately, the shifted spectrum of the Sirius star system being roughly 100 nm towards the UV, and of even the proportion of near-UV and UV/a being so much greater than of our sun, whereas even at the range of 0.01 light year shouldn't have been creating the excessive amount of IR influx that would have otherwise cooked most everything to a fairlywell, yet there would have been a sufficient amount of the added IR to have thawed Mars, as well as melted all of the oceanic ice plus nearly all of the land-locked ice to boot, whereas a mere 10% overall worth of obtaining such energy influx would easily have tipped the global balance into absolutely terminating not only the ice-age but perhaps for a short geological timeline of a thousand years when essentially all ice would have melted, which in turn would have yielded more oceans and wet zones for the likes of diatoms as to convert the remaining CO2-->CO/O2, especially with those oceans perhaps 40+ meters higher than of today and of the rest of the released moisture as being trapped into the tropical global atmosphere as to cycle down upon whatever was dry land, as this would have given the sort of growth cycle necessary to have accumulated the layers of coal and of other elements which we can easily see and utilize, not to mention an unlimited wealth of natural food resources for all other life on Earth.
The following graphic was borrowed from what's based upon a typical record of CO2 cycles, whereas many research groups using independent methods have collected similar data that clearly denotes the timeline of CO2 cycles. I have something further to offer on this topic within http://guthvenus.tripod.com/gv-sirius-diatoms.htm As usual, since I'm not pretending as being the all-knowing pretentious soul on the likes of diatoms, global warming or the ice-ages, I'll return to this and other pages as to hopefully improve upon the specifics, and/or to merely polish up the syntax and context so that it's a bit more readable. Of course it might help if you'd care to submit a question or perhaps some expertise that's not being orchestrated to death by the mainstream status quo that's suggesting there is no such global warming trend, or that it's impossible that our existence has anything whatsoever to do with the likes of the Sirius star system, and not surprisingly that our NASA/Apollo accomplish exactly what they said they did, even though the facts speak otherwise.
A global environment as covered by a nearly continuous cloud cover would also have altered the surface environment into becoming more unified, as in uniformly warmer/tropical and thus obviously more humid, and of the timeline in which the 425 nm (+/- 25 nm) spectrum that was so intensified by the nearby Sirius star system would have sufficiently penetrated those clouds so as to have afforded the nearly 24/7 illuminated environment that was nearly ideal for the likes of diatoms. Thus it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how such a vast cycle of diatom growth could have existed, and have been sustained at such a highly advance rate of reproduction for thousands of years upon each of the long-term cycles or associations with the Sirius star system. Although, since I'm not always right (much less all-knowing), if you have an alternative or better idea I'd certainly like to hear about it.
Such as; if we were to come across a given world that was nearly frozen solid, or perhaps just coming out of another ice-age as having mostly a CO2 atmospheric base due to insufficient biomass photosynthesise, as this is where it seems perfectly wholesome and proper to think of depositing a good number of those adaptive diatoms, that plus taking advantage of a booster shot of near-UV illumination in order to insure the rapid conversion of CO2-->CO/O2. Then kick back and let mother nature do its job, and only once in a great while check back in to see how things are going. Of course it would help if the planet to be terraformed weren't quite so far from the sun, and if that planet had the necessary mass to hold onto and to supplement the necessary elements for creating and sustaining its atmosphere, like Earth and especially Venus, as it doesn't do much good to be creating a better environment for life if your entire planet is to be so easily TBI and otherwise pulverised by whatever comes along.
On the other hand, even if our all-knowing NASA were to insist upon visiting Venus and staying for a while, with the notion of our having to artificially process CO2-->CO/O2, and even if that prospect should entail an overall energy sink of 100KW/kg of obtaining, storing and distributing sufficiently cooled O2, fortunately there's no need of having to import that energy, nor is there the usual kg/day of O2 consumption per individual at that ambient pressure, whereas perhaps less than .1 kg/day of pure O2 would more than do the trick, thus we're down to sustaining our form of life upon 10 kw/person/24 hours, which is minor compared to the other 90 kwhr/day of managing the thermal compensation, which again isn't nearly as doom and gloomy with respect to the ambient pressure that's keeping a lid on the situation. And again folks, entirely unlike Mars, Venus offers so much energy that's freely accessibly and absolutely unlimited, as there's no need of our having to create and remotely deploy such high-risk and absolutely spendy energy resources to Venus. So it really doesn't matter how much energy per individual is to be required, as even a MW/soul is doable on a continuous basis. Of course, employing the R-1024/m of what basalt/silica composites can deliver, as such there's obviously not going to be the need for all that much energy investment into sustaining our personal environments, as more likely as little as 24 kwhr/day will become sufficient, which conceivably might even include the CO2-->CO/O2 process.
This is all well and good if the current inhabitants are sufficiently amused by our efforts, and as such allow our visitation to happen without folks being devoured on the spot. Perhaps a safe bet will be to take along a few tonnes of pizza and cold beer as our trade/exchange insurance, as otherwise our visit could be terminated much like a certain Pope dealth with those dogooder Cathars that sort of came out of nowhere.