An examination of diatom area: Volume ratios and their influence on estimates of plasma volume

Gary L. Hitchcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Measurements of diatom surface area (A) and cell volume (V) from laboratory studies, natural populations and model solids show, predictably, that discoid cells possess lower A/V ratios than tubular or ellipsoid cells of an equivalent cell volume. Estimates of plasma volume based on microscopical measurements must exhibit a similar pattern with respect to cell morphology: any estimate of plasma volume for a discoid species will contain less plasma volume per unit cell volume, than tubular or ellipsoid species. To examine whether or not a constant or variable cytoplasm thickness influences estimates of plasma volume, a comparison is made between estimates of diatom plasma volumes assuming that cytoplasm thickness is either a constant (1μm) or a variable function of cell A/V ratios. The limited number of morphometric observations from the literature show that there is insufficient data to choose between the assumption that diatom cytoplasm is constant or variable; this is most evident in larger diatoms. Future studies are needed to compare morphometric estimates of plasma volume with cell constituents to determine if a relationship exists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-324
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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