Cells are more or less rectangular in girdle (side) view. Cells are usually elliptical in valve (top or bottom) view. Frustules with long, thin spines Spines overlap to form colonies of several cells Chaetoceros is a centric diatom with very lightly silicified frustules (boxes or shells). Each frustule possesses four long, thin spines, or setae. The setae link the frustules together to form colonies of several cells. Frustules are usually seen in girdle view.
Free floating in the plankton. Chaetoceros is primarily a marine genus.
Uses the sun's energy for photosynthesis.
This diatom can reproduce both asexually and sexually. When it divides asexually, the cells vertically separate, and this leads to a progressive reduction in cell size as one daughter cell will always be smaller than its parent cell. If the cells fail to reproduce sexually, the size reduction will cause the disappearance of one of the clones.
Diatoms and other microalgae are found in all oceans and provide food for many animals living in the ope ocean
Chaetoceros is probably the largest genus of marine planktonic diatoms with approximately 400 species described. Although a large number of these descriptions are no longer valid. It is often very difficult to distinguish between different Chaetoceros species. Because of high growth rates and high concentrations of lipids, Chaetoceros has been used as a potential alga to harvest lipids for biofuels.
http://westerndiatoms.colorado.edu/taxa/genus/Chaetoceros accessed 11/02/14