Project

Diatoms from the Crown of the Continent

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The Crown is one of the most spectacular and most pristine regions of North America, and a hotspot for diatom biodiversity. A preliminary analysis of samples indicates the region supports well over 1,000 diatom species, many of them new to science.

TAXA

Boreozonacola olympica | Kobayasiella okadae | Navicula aurora | Navicula flatheadensis | Navicula subconcentrica | Neidiopsis levanderi | Neidiopsis wulffii | Nupela potapovae | Pinnularia divergentissima |

The Crown of the Continent ecoregion straddles the Continental Divide from Crowsnest Pass in Canada to Rogers Pass in northwest Montana. The region includes Glacier National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex, the Mission Mountains Tribal Wilderness, Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park, and several state, national, and provincial forests.

The Crown is one of the most spectacular and most pristine regions of North America, and a hotspot for diatom biodiversity. We set out to survey diatom biodiversity in the Crown in 2006, with emphasis on the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Including historic samples in the Montana Diatom Collection dating back to the 1970s, we have collected 529 samples from 399 localities in the region. A preliminary analysis of samples indicates the region supports well over 1,000 diatom species, many of them new to science.

In eight papers published since 2009, we have described 23 new diatom species that live in the Crown. The type localities for 21 of these species are within the Crown ecoregion. The region is rich in nordic-alpine taxa, including the rare Distrionella incognita. Ours were the first records of this taxon in North America. The region also supports large populations of the native diatom Didymosphenia geminata, which has become a concern in Glacier National Park.

Funding

National Park Service, Rocky Mountain Monitoring Network

| Loren Bahls

Rocky Mountain Cooperative Ecosystems Study Unit (RM-CESU)

| Loren Bahls

Anonymous Donor

Glacier National Park Fund | Loren Bahls

National Institutes of Health

National Center for Research Resources, Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network RR-16455-04 | Electron Microscopy Facility, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula

Participants

Loren Bahls

Faculty Affiliate, Environmental Studies, The University of Montana


Kalina Manoylov

Assistant Professor, Georgia College and State University


E. William “Billy” Schweiger

National Park Service, Rocky Mountain Monitoring Network


Tara Carolin

National Park Service, Glacier National Park


Barb Johnston

Parks Canada


This project was first entered on 15 March, 2012 by Loren Bahls