Thalassionema nitzschioides

General Close


(diatoms) A type of diatom that has longitudinal symmetry with valves that are linear or oval shaped. Some pennate diatoms possess a raphe, which allows them to be motile.

Shape Elliptical cylindrical
Size Length 10 - 110 μm
Colour Yellow-brown
Connection Close

Mucilage pad

In diatoms, a structure joining adjacent cells or attaching a solitary cell to a substrate through the secretion of mucilage (can be a mucilage stalk in this case). These pads and stalks are produced by strutted processes (Round 1981).

Mucilage pads
Covering Silica Close


In diatoms, the hard and porous silica cell wall (Horner 2002).



(plural: flagella) A tail-like projection that sticks out from the cell body and enables movement.



An organelle in the cell that contains the cell pigments (Horner 2002). This is where photosynthesis occurs. A chloroplast is a specialized chromatophore.

Small, numerous, scattered throughout
Lifestyle Close


The chemical process by which light energy, water and carbon dioxide are combined to produce oxygen and organic compounds. Photoautotrophic organisms (plants and algae) use this reaction to produce their own food.

. Sexual/asexual.


A rapid increase or accumulation of algal populations in an aquatic system. This will likely involve one or a few dominant phytoplankton species. This follows seasonal patterns (i.e., spring, summer or fall bloom) with dominant species being those that are best adapted to the environmental conditions of that time period. Discolouration of the water may be observed because of the algae's pigmentation. Blooms are often green but may be yellow-brown or red depending on the species present.

Information not available
Harmful effects None known
Habitat Close


Describing shallow, near-shore areas and the organisms that live there. Refers to shallow marine waters ranging from the low tide mark to the continental shelf. Varying amounts of sunlight penetrate the water, allowing photosynthesis by both phytoplankton and bottom-dwelling organisms. Close proximity to land favours high nutrient content and biological activity (Encyclopedia Britannica 2011).

and Close


Describing an ecosystem or species that is far from the bottom or shore of a water body. In an open aquatic environment.

Geographic Close


Widely distributed; occurring in many parts in the world.

in coastal systems except in polar seas
Seasonal Blooms from late summer to fall in coastal inlets of BC
Growth Conditions


The dissolved ion content of a body of water. Can be measured in the following units: parts per thousand (PPT or ‰), practical salinity units (PSU), and absolute salinity (g/kg). PPT is measured by weight, denoting the number of parts salt per thousand total parts or a value of 10-3. PSU measures the conductivity of saltwater and compares it in a ratio to a standard KCl solution (because this is a ratio, salinity measured in this way can also be written without units). The newest unit of salinity is absolute salinity, which uses the mass fraction of salt in seawater (g salt per kg seawater) rather than its conductivity (TEOS-20 2010).

12 - 38
Temperature 15 °C (optimal)


Thalassiothrix fraunfeldii var. nitzschioides (Grunow) Jörgensen 1900 Close


Expressing the same fundamental type or structure; may or may not be symmetrical (e.g., the two valves of a diatom, where they are the same shape and appearance, but one is bigger than the other). In naming species, a homotypic synonym is one that comes into being when a taxon gets a new name (without being added to an already existing taxon).

Thalassionema nitzschioides (Grunow) Van Heurck 1896 (homotypic)
Thalassiothrix curvata Castracane 1886 Close


A difference in type. In naming species, a heterotypic synonym is one that comes into being when a taxon becomes part of a different taxon. Compare to homotypic.

Synedra nitzschioides var. minor Cleve 1883 (heterotypic)
Thalassiothrix nitzschioides var. javanica Grunow (heterotypic)
Thalassiothrix nitzschioides (Grunow) Grunow 1881 (homotypic)
Synedra nitzschioides Grunow 1862 Close


The original name for an organism. In botany, the original published nomenclature from which a new binomial nomenclature is derived for a particular group of organisms (Tindall 1999).

, homotypic)
(Guiry and Guiry 2011)


Empire Eukaryota
Kingdom Chromista
Subkingdom Chromobiota
Infrakingdom Heterokonta
Phylum Bacillariophyta
Class Bacillariophyceae
Subclass Bacillariophycidae
Order Thalassionematales
Family Thalassionemataceae
Genus Thalassionema
Species T. nitzschioides(Grunow) Mereschkowsky 1902

(Guiry and Guiry 2011)


Photosynthetic. Reproduces sexually and asexually (Guiry 2011).


Cells are usually in star-shaped or zigzagged chains connected by mucilage pads on the ends of Close


In diatoms, the structurally distinct halves of the cell wall (Becker 1996).

. Cells are rectangular in Close


In diatoms, the portion of the cell wall between the two valves of a cell; made up of intercalary bands (bands closest to the valves) and connecting bands (bands in the middle of the girdle). In dinoflagellates, the equivalent of a cingulum or transverse furrow (Horner 2002).

view, with valve ends that are similar in shape and width, and are narrowly elliptical in valve view. Chloroplasts are small and numerous (Kraberg et al. 2010). Cells are yellow-brown in colour (Guiry 2011).
Each valve has two Close

Labiate process

In diatoms, a simple slit in the valve wall with two internal lips, one on each side of the slit. They can be useful in identification because they are positioned differently in different species (Horner 2002).

labiate processes
, one on each end; a small Close


(axis, spine) The region of the apex or point. Refers to the most anterior point or region of the cell (HPP 2003).



In some diatoms, "closed or solid structures projecting from the cell wall;" in dinoflagellates, solid projections that usually taper to a point.

is sometimes also present (Kraberg et al. 2010). Close


The outline or border that defines the shape of an organism or cell.



In diatoms, the regularly repeated hexagonal holes on the valve walls (HPP 2003).

are visible as Close


Features that provide support to other structures in the cell.

with Close


(light microscopy) "Using a microscope in which a beam of light passes through optical lenses to view an image of the specimen" (MCM LTER 2010).

. The Close


In pennate diatoms, the thickened silica structure that usually extends along the apical axis and may be centrally or marginally positioned. In diatoms with raphes, the sternum contains the raphe (Spaulding et al. 2010).

is broad and without areolae. Internally, each valve pole has a simple, slit-like labiate process, which appears externally as a small, round hole (visible with Close


(scanning electron microscope) A microscope which applies "a focused beam of high-energy electrons to generate a variety of signals at the surface of solid specimens" (NSF 2011).

)" (Horner 2002).


Length (apical axis): 10 - 110 μm
Width Close

Transapical axis

In diatoms, the longitudinal axis of the valve.

(transapical axis
): 2 - 4 μm
Height Close

Pervalvar axis

The axis through the centre point of the two valves of a frustule. This axis is perpendicular to the valve face.

(pervalvar axis
): 3 - 8 μm
Marginal areolae: 10 - 12 in 10 μm
(Cupp 1943, Kraberg et al. 2010)

Similar species

Other Thalassionema species, though T. nitzschioides is the only Thalassionema species in which both cell ends have the same shape (Hasle 2001).

Harmful effects

Not known.


Neritic and pelagic(Cupp 1943).


Cosmopolitan except in polar regions (Hasle and Syvertsen 1997).
Blooms in late summer to fall in the coastal inlets of BC (Hay 2003). In spring and summer months in Norwegian waters (Degerlund 2010). In the summer months in India (Thillai Rajasekar et al. 2010). Most abundant in spring in Northern European seas (Kraberg et al. 2010).
"North temperate species. Very common and often abundant off southern California and Lower California, in the Gulf of California, and north to Scotch Cap, Alaska" (Cupp 1943).

Growth conditions

Commonly found in Close


Various chemical substances that an organism needs for metabolism (i.e., to live and grow). These are usually taken up from the environment. Some examples include nitrate, phosphate, silica (for diatoms), iron, copper, etc. Some nutrients, like copper, are required for growth, but can also be toxic at high levels.

-rich Close


A wind-driven mechanism of mixing the water column. Cold, dense, nutrient-rich, and often oxygen-poor water from depths rises to replace the warmer nutrient-poor surface water. This input of nutrients can have a significantly increase primary productivity in a region (Dugdale 1985).

regions (Abrantes 1988, cited in Kobayashi and Takahashi 2002). Its presence indicates conditions of high productivity (Schrader and Sorknes 1990, cited in Kobayashi and Takahashi 2002). Optimal temperature ∼15 °C (Resende 2007). Salinity range from ∼12 - 33 (Demir 2007, Burns 1977).

Environmental Ranges

Depth range (m): 0 - 3300
Temperature range (°C): -1.938 - 29.468
Nitrate (μmol L-1): 0.053 - 33.849
Salinity: up to 37.775
Oxygen (mL L-1): 3.946 - 9.143
Phosphate (μmol L-1): 0.046 - 2.366

Silicic acid

A general term to describe chemical compounds containing silicon, oxygen and hydrogen with a general formula of [SiOx(OH)4-2x]n. Diatoms polymerize silicic acid into biogenic silica to form their frustules (Azam and Chisholm 1976).

(μmol L-1): 0.648 - 116.089
(OBIS 2011, cited in EOL 2011)

Bloom characteristics

Information not available.


Abrantes, F. 1988. Diatom assemblages as upwelling indicators in surface sediments off Portugal. Marine Geology. 85: 15-39.

Burns, D. A. 1977. Distribution of Planktonic diatoms in Pelorus Sound, South Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 11(2): 275-295.

Chen, Y. L. L. 1995. Phytoplankton composition and productivity in response to the upwelling off northeastern Taiwan. Proceedings of the National Science Council, Republic of China, Part B: Life Sciences. 19(1): 66-72.

Cupp, E. E. 1943. Marine Plankton Diatoms of the West Coast of North America. University of California Press. Berkeley, California. 238.

Degerlund, M. and Eilertsen, H. C. 2010. Main Species Characteristics of Phytoplankton Spring Blooms in NE Atlantic and Arctic Waters (68 - 80 °N). Estuaries and coasts. 33(2): 242-269.

Demir, N. 2007. Changes in the phytoplankton community of a coastal, hyposaline lake in western Anatolia, Turkey. Limnology. 8(3): 337-342.

Encyclopedia of Life. 2010. Thalassionema nitzschioides (Grunow) Grunow ex Hustedt. Accessed 10 Jun 2011.

Guiry, M. D. 2011. Thalassionema nitzschioides (Grunow) Mereschkowsky, 1902. Accessed 05 May 2011.

Guiry, M. D. and Guiry, G. M. 2011. Thalassionema nitzschioides (Grunow) Mereschkowsky, 1902. AlgaeBase. National University of Ireland, Galway. Accessed 02 June 2011.

Hasle, G. R. 2001. The marine, planktonic diatom family Thalassionemataceae: Morphology, taxonomy and distribution. Diatom Research. 16: 1-82.

Hasle, G. R. and Syvertsen, E. E. 1997. Marine diatoms. In: Tomas, C. R. (ed.) Identifying Marine Phytoplankton. Academic Press, Inc., San Diego. 5-385.

Hay, M. B., Pienitz, R. and Thomson, R. E. 2003. Distribution of diatom surface sediment assemblages within Effingham Inlet, a temperate fjord on the west coast of Vancouver Island (Canada). Marine micropaleontology. 48(3-4): 291-320.

Horner, R. A. 2002. A Taxonomic Guide To Some Common Phytoplankton. Biopress Limited, Dorset Press, Dorchester, UK. 200.

Kraberg, A., Baumann, M. and Durselen, C. D. 2010. Coastal Phytoplankton: Photo Guide for Northern European Seas. Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil, Munchen, Germany. 204.

Kobayashi, F. and Takahashi K. 2002. Distribution of diatoms along the equatorial transect in the western and central Pacific during the 1999 La Niña conditions. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 49(13-14): 2801-2821.

Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Thalassionema nitzschioides. Accessed 10 Jun 2011.

Resende, P., Azeiteiro, U. M., Goncalves, F. and Pereira, M. J. 2007. Distribution and ecological preferences of diatoms and dinoflagellates in the west Iberian Coastal zone (North Portugal). Acta Oecologica. 32(2): 224-235.

Romero, O. E., Rixen, T. and Herunadi, B. 2009. Effects of hydrographic and climatic forcing on diatom production and export in the tropical southeastern Indian Ocean. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 384: 69-82.

Schrader, H. and Sorknes, R. 1990. Spatial and temporal variation of Peruvian coastal upwelling during the last Quaternary. Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results. 112: 391-406.

Thillai Rajasekar, K., Rajkumar, M., Sun, J., Ashok Prabu, V. and Perumal, P. 2010. Bloom forming species of phytoplankton in two coastal waters in the Southeast coast of India. Journal of Ocean University of China. 9(3): 265-272.

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