A correlation between genome size and cell volume has been observed across diverse assemblages of eukaryotes. We examined this relationship in diatoms (Bacillariophyceae), a phylum in which cell volume is of critical ecological and biogeochemical importance. In addition to testing whether there is a predictive relationship across extant species, we tested whether evolutionary divergences in genome size were correlated with evolutionary divergences in cell size (using independent contrasts). We estimated total DNA content for 16 diatom species using a flow cytometer and estimated cell volumes using critical dimensions with scaling equations. Our independent contrast analyses indicated a significant correlated evolution between genome size and cell volume. We then explored the evolutionary and ecological implications of this evolutionary relationship. Diatom cell volume is an important component of the global carbon cycle; therefore, understanding the mechanisms that drive diatom genome evolution has both evolutionary and ecological importance.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ltomanek/1/