Under nutrient deplete conditions, diatoms accumulate between 15% to 25% of their dry weight as lipids, primarily as triacylglycerols (TAGs). As in most eukaryotes, these organisms produce TAGs via the acyl-CoA dependent Kennedy pathway. The last step in this pathway is catalyzed by diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) that acylates diacylglycerol (DAG) to produce TAG. To test our hypothesis that DGAT plays a major role in controlling the flux of carbon towards lipids, we overexpressed a specific type II DGAT gene, DGAT2D, in the model diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. The transformants had 50- to 100-fold higher DGAT2D mRNA levels and the abundance of the enzyme increased 30- to 50-fold. More important, these cells had a 2-fold higher total lipid content and incorporated carbon into lipids more efficiently than the wild type (WT) while growing only 15% slower at light saturation. Based on a flux analysis using 13 C as a tracer, we found that the increase in lipids was achieved via increased fluxes through pyruvate and acetyl-CoA. Our results reveal overexpression of DAGT2D increases the flux of photosynthetically fixed carbon towards lipids, and leads to a higher lipid content than exponentially grown WT cells.