Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms course, 2011



Students in Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms contribute to the Diatoms of the United States. For a final project, students intensively research a single taxon and submit their work to the review board. Several taxa from 2011 are in progress.


Diprora | Campylodiscus hibernicus | Craticula cuspidata | Cyclostephanos dubius | Cymbella mexicana | Cymbella neocistula | Diprora haenaensis | Eupodiscus radiatus | Gomphoneis geitleri | Stephanodiscus niagarae | Stephanodiscus reimeri |

Course History

The “Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms” course was started as an informal workshop by Dr. E.F. Stoermer in 1963. The workshop at Iowa Lakeside Lab was a place for people interested in diatoms to gather and discuss problems related to understanding aspects of diatom biology. In 1966, Dr. Charles Reimer began teaching, expanding and formalizing what had been called the “Diatom Clinic” and established an intensive five-week course. Under Reimer’s direction, the course served as a forum for upper level undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and academic researchers to focus on the biology, ecology, and taxonomy of diatoms. In 1990, Stoermer returned to Iowa to continue the course, where students were able to engage in in-depth study of field and laboratory aspects of freshwater diatoms. Dr. Sarah Spaulding, a student of both Stoermer and Reimer, began teaching the course in 2000. She was soon joined by Dr. Mark Edlund, and they continue to co-teach the course as a team.

Student Contributions

For many years, students in the class have produced “species treatments”, an investigation of a single taxon as a final project. The exercise in producing such species treatments gave students the understanding of the basics in taxonomy, ecology and producing a document for scientific publication. With the launching of the Diatoms of the United States website in 2010, Edlund and Spaulding saw a great opportunity for students to submit their work to the Diatoms of the US Editorial Review Board, and with approval, public posting of an in-depth species examination for part of the growing flora.  Students work from collections they made throughout the field course, and include specimens of cleaned and live material. Students utilize the Reimer Diatom Herbarium (ILH), which contains over 3,000 permanent slides, to verify their identifications and provide a range of interspecific variability for the taxon pages. They are assisted by Sylvia Lee, J.C. Kingston Teaching Fellow from Florida International University, in producing the final pages.


J.C. Kingston Fellowship

Teaching Fellowship | Sylvia Lee

C.W. Reimer Scholarship

Merit Scholarship | Laurel Fuelling, Lauren Stratton

Friends of Lakeside Lab

Educational Support |

Okoboji Foundation

Educational Support |

Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust

Student Microscopes and Imaging Systems |

Messengers of Healing Winds

Student Microscopes and Imaging Systems |


Mark Edlund

Senior Scientist, Science Museum of Minnesota
Review Board, This Website

Sarah Spaulding

Ecologist, US Geological Survey
Review Board, This Website

Gene Stoermer

1934 - 2012,
Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan
Review Board, This Website

Steve Main

Professor, Retired, Wartburg College

Sylvia Lee

Aquatic Ecologist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Lisa Allinger

Research Fellow, Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth

Lauren Fuelling

M.S. Student, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio

Briana Johnson

M.S. Student, Univerity of Nevada, Reno

Lena Ivarsson

Undergraduate Student, Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden

Emily Nodine

Ph.D. Student, Florida International University, Miami FL

Nicole McConnell

M.S. Student, Iowa State University, Ames Iowa

Frank Pickett

Diatomist, Unaffiliated

Laurel Stratton

M.S. Student, University of Nevada, Reno

Carrie White

M.S. Student, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

Phil Woods

M.S. Student, University of Minnesota

Anna Mengjie Yu

Ph.D. Student, Department of Plant Biology, The University of Texas at Austin

This project was first entered on 13 June, 2011 by Sarah Spaulding