News Story

50th Anniversary of the Diatom Clinic



16 January, 2013

Sarah Spaulding

The year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the diatom course at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. In 1963, Dr. Gene Stoermer started an informal gathering, a “Diatom Clinic”, as forum for people interested in diatoms to gather and learn from one another. After Gene initiated the course, Dr. Charlie Reimer taught for many years, with Gene returning to teach for another 10 years starting in 1990. From those strong beginnings, the course has continued the tradition of training students and professionals during an intensive period of focus, in a field setting. Several courses are being offered this summer as part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Diatom Clinic at Iowa Lakeside Lab.

Recently, a former student from the 1963 class, Gerry Haukoos, sent a note in remembrance of Gene. He recalled that the first morning of the class in 1963, he overheard Dr. John Dodd instructing his former graduate student (Gene) in the adjoining room. John Dodd said something like, “you’re in the big time now, go get’em”. This exchange occurred when John and Gene were in a stone lab, in the midst of the cornfields of northwest Iowa! For many years of teaching the summer course, Gene would end his lectures with, “Now go forth and do great things”. All the students that pass through this stone building have done exactly that.

For further course information contact Sarah Spaulding. Information on the field station and course registration is on the links on the right.

FULL - DIATOM SHORT COURSE 13-17 May, 2013 Instructor: Sarah Spaulding

The Diatom Short Course is an introductory training on diatom biology, taxonomy, ecology and assessment for water quality professionals. In this one week course, participants will be introduced to application of diatoms to water quality assessment through lecture, lab and field sessions. The course is directed at giving professionals background information on diatoms to better understand the use of diatoms in assessment. In many cases, managers are presented with algal data sets for their interpretation. What does the presence of a particular species mean? What is this indicator species and why is it important? How do I deal with different names for diatoms in determining ecological trends over time? This short course will include an introduction to diatom biology, including unique features of the diatom cell and life history. Field trips to nearby lakes, streams, fens and prairie potholes will allow participants to learn about diatom habitats and collection methods. The course will be based in the McBride Laboratory, a great old stone building with a well-equipped lab, research microscope and imaging system, and wired network connection. Each participant will use a Leica microscope, equipped with a digital camera and a dedicated laptop to learn basics of microscopic identification of diatoms. In the laboratory, participants will learn different preparation techniques and when to utilize them. Field trips, lab exercises, and lectures to follow the weather and class progress. Class size is limited to 12.

FULL - ECOLOGY & SYSTEMATICS OF DIATOMS 20 May – 14 June 2013 Instructors: Mark Edlund, Marina Potapova Special Guest Instructor: Evelyn Gaiser, Florida International University

The course will introduce students to field and laboratory study of freshwater diatoms. The class will visit diverse aquatic habitats of the Upper Midwest to make live and fossil collections of a large number of freshwater diatom genera. Students will learn techniques in collection, preparation, and identification of diatoms. Lectures will cover taxonomy, systematics and biogeography of most of the freshwater genera. Students will construct individual voucher collections using modern curatorial techniques. As a final project, students will complete a taxonomic treatment of a species that will be ready to submit for peer-review to the Diatoms of the United States web project.This is an intensive, field-oriented class appropriate for advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, and post graduate workers in ecology and diatom taxonomy. Students are encouraged to bring individual research materials, and there will be opportunities to discuss research approaches and practical problems of using diatoms in ecological and paleoecological applications. Two CW Reimer Scholarships will be awarded to students in the course based on scholastic merit. Class size is limited to 10 students. Class size is limited to 10.

FRESHWATER DIATOMITE CLINIC 17-21 June 2013 Instructors: Sarah Spaulding, Marina Potapova and many guest instructors

Freshwater fossil diatom deposits (diatomites) are the widespread remnants of extensive Cenozoic lake systems in western North America. The most impor¬tant global process driving the formation, and then disappearance of the Great Basin lakes, was climate, which became increasingly cool and dry from 15 Ma to the present. Some of the western diatomites are relatively well-known, while others are not. This informal clinic will begin with an introduction to the geologic and climatic setting during the Cenozoic, particularly the tectonic setting and volcanism of the region. Lake basin morphology, nutrient and silica sources were important in producing large biomass of siliceous diatoms. This one week clinic will follow the model set by E.F. Stoermer 50 years ago, when the first diatom clinic was held in the great stone building, MacBride lab. Participants – instructors, guest lecturers and students - will talk informally and learn from on another with the goal of producing a manuscript to summarize and outline the compelling research questions on diatom evolution and extinction in western North America. Diatomites will be available from a number of western sites for microscopic study by clinic participants. Limited to 20 participants.

FRESHWATER ALGAE 24 June - 12 July 2013 Instructor: Kalina Manoylov

Students will learn about the biology, ecology and taxonomy of cyanobacteria and eukaryotic freshwater algae based on field studies. Samples collected from lakes, fens, streams, and rivers will be identified mostly to genus level with some common species identifications within each algal group. An ecological perspective is used to explore the diversity of photosynthetic microbes that form the energy base of freshwater ecosystems. Environmental and economic concerns caused by excessive algal growth will also be examined. Field collections will be used to identify the common phyla and genera of algae, to study life histories, and to examine environmental factors that affect algal growth and distribution. A class project will investigate the algal ecology of Lake West Okoboji. Students should have a working knowledge of basic biology. Class size is limited to 10.