Saturday, January 14, 2012

Just some beautiful diatoms for your Saturday

Diatoms are single cell organisms that make a cell wall out of silica. They are sometimes called "algae living in glass houses." Turns out, they make 30% of the world's oxygen. They are also incredibly diverse in shape, almost like snowflakes. Their frustule (outer walls) are gorgeous.

Back in the day, clergy were also often scientists, and it was actually a Lutheran clergy person, the Francis Wolle (1894), who published the first account of the diatoms of North America. I love to learn of clergy who are "also" something else. Clergy should be leaders in inquiry and wonder in the world. I like that Wolle cared for a congregation AND cataloged diatoms with a microscope.

Thanks to Evelyn Gaiser for alerting me to this beautiful part of creation in the recent issue of Word and World: Theology for Christian Ministry.

Diatoms are also incredibly sensitive to the environment, and tell us much about how our environment is doing. Dr. Gaiser writes, "Diatoms are indeed a blessing in so many ways; they remind us of trustworthy sentinels of the state of our water resources, and by thinking like them, we should be able to more responsibly care for our threatened planet."


  1. Anonymous1:38 PM

    i was recently made aware of these wonderful creatures too and i am fascinate! Praise God for this wonderful creation with all its intricacies and mysteries. what gets me is how the same God who created vast galaxies and you and me can give such amazing detail to these microscopic creatures! What an awesome God!

  2. Anonymous1:39 PM

    Should have spellchecked hahaha! but anyway I trust the thrust of my comment is plain. My apologies

  3. Anonymous6:45 PM

    I must agree. This was the result of a search for Dog Wormers. One thing led to another and then....The Wonder of God's Creation. Paul said the things we see are made of things that we cannot see. Yet now with Microscopes we are seeing some of what was impossible for them outside of Divine Revelation. The Angel told Daniel..Knowledge shall increase in the latter Days. I too am in Awe of the Word of God in Creation. I would like to know why one shape is formed and then Flowers. The information is in the seed. But is there a seed in the Diatoms. There is direction to be sure . Nothing that is is without the Direction of the Word of God.