Staurosira venter is unique in that it builds a glass shell made of silica around itself for protection. Through its glass house, Staurosira venter collects the sun’s energy which it converts into food and oxygen.
Fossil record keepers
Diatoms have existed for millions of years and can be found preserved in the fossil record. As the shell of Staurosira venter rarely decays, scientists can determine when they existed in the past. They can also learn what the climate was like during a specific period of time based on the different species’ and qualities of the preserved shell.
Climate change indicators
Today, scientists use Staurosira venter as an indicator species of climate change. An indicator species is a species that is used by scientists to determine the overall health of a certain environment. Staurosirella pinnata is quickly becoming less dominant in the Arctic, an important indicator of the changing Arctic environment.