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Gomphonema Rajaguruii


Researchers at the Pune-based Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) recently discovered a new species named Gomphonema rajaguruii from the northern Western Ghats.


GS III: Species in News

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Gomphonema rajaguruii: A Unique Freshwater Diatom Species
  2. Diatoms: Photosynthetic Single-Celled Organisms

Gomphonema rajaguruii: A Unique Freshwater Diatom Species

Discovery and Naming:

  • Found in a semi-aquatic environment along the wet walls of Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra.
  • Named after the late Professor S. N. Rajaguru, a renowned geo-archaeologist from the region.


  • Unique diatom species exhibiting traits from two genera: Gomphonema and Gomphoneis.
  • Represents a distinct combination of features not typically seen in diatoms.

Diatoms: Photosynthetic Single-Celled Organisms

  • Diatoms are photosynthetic organisms consisting of single cells.
  • They belong to a major group of algae and are common phytoplankton in aquatic ecosystems.
  • Widely distributed in freshwater and marine environments.

Cell Structure and Function:

  • Diatoms possess cell walls composed of silica.
  • Each species has a unique pattern of tiny holes (frustules) in the cell wall.
  • Frustules serve as channels for nutrient absorption and waste elimination.

Ecological Significance:

  • Diatoms contribute significantly to oxygen production globally.
  • Responsible for generating up to 50% of the Earth’s annual oxygen through photosynthesis.
  • Found in nearly all types of aquatic environments, including freshwater and marine systems.

Diatoms as Phytoplankton:

  • Diatoms are one of the most common forms of phytoplankton.
  • They play a crucial role in the aquatic food chain as a primary food source.
  • Additionally, diatoms contribute to nutrient cycling in aquatic ecosystems.
  • Understanding and studying diatoms, such as Gomphonema rajaguruii, enhance our knowledge of the diversity and ecological importance of these microscopic organisms in freshwater habitats.

-Source: The Hindu

April 2024