Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms course, 2015



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 2015 are completed.


Diploneis elliptica | Encyonema reimeri | Fragilaria mesolepta | Gyrosigma attenuatum | Neidiomorpha binodiformis | Placoneis anglophila | Placoneis gastrum | Rhopalodia gibberula |


Mark Edlund and Sylvia Lee taught the class. Students came from University of Iowa, University of Southern California Long Beach, University of Nevada Reno, and McGill University. Nick Schulte was awarded the Kingston Teaching Fellowship, and was joined by Ian Bishop and David Burge, bringing together the Kingston Trio. Adam Heathcote provided a paleolimnology lesson and lead the class on a coring expedition to East Lake Okoboji and Lake Minnewashta. Visiting researchers also included Lynn Brant, Evelyn Gaiser, and Steve Main.

Students investigated the morphology, allometry, and sexual reproduction of Encyonema reimeri from West Lake Okoboji, Iowa. Collections made on 18 May 2015 showed a bimodal distribution of cell sizes that extended the upper size range known for this taxon, a positive relationship between valve length and breadth, and no apparent relationship between striae density and cell size. The class returned to collect new material after two weeks and found that the size distribution of cells has shifted downward and that there was evidence that the population was undergoing sexual reproduction. Two gametangial cells were paired in a copulation mucilage and each produced two isogametes. Pairing and fertilization most like followed Geitler's Normal Type 1c reproduction with no apparent relationship between gametangial cells and expanding auxospores.

A second project focused on the seasonal succession of diatom epiphytes on Cladophora at Triboji Beach, West Lake Okoboji from 13 May, 26 May, and 8 June 2015. Students practiced diatom enumeration methods and were introduced to ordination. They observed a shift in the epiphyte community, with diatoms from the earliest and latest collection dates exhibiting the most dissimilar assemblage composition.

The class prepared a poster for a scientific meeting, based on the class project:

Nick Schulte, Elaine Jordan, James Woodell, Mac Flack, Irene Tunno, Sabrina Kamae, Sergio Mendoza, Joanna Gauthier, Blamaki Behnaz, Eilleen Salas, David Burge, Sylvia Lee, and Mark Edlund. 2015. A closer look at Encyonema reimeri. North American Diatom Symposium, Beaver Island, Michigan.

This Kingston Trio (Nick Schulte, Kingston Fellow 2015; Ian Bishop, 2014; David Burge, 2013) provided campfire serenades.


J.C. Kingston Fellowship

Teaching Fellowship | Nick Schulte

E.F. Stoermer Scholarship

Merit Scholarship | Ian Bishop

C.W. Reimer Scholarship

Merit Scholarship | Irene Tunno

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

Sylvia Lee

Biologist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Review Board, This Website

Nick Schulte

M.S. Student, Florida International University

David R.L. Burge

Lab Technician, St. Croix Watershed Research Station, Science Museum of Minnesota

Ian Bishop

Graduate Student, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island
Review Board, This Website

Elaine Jordan

Undergraduate student, Research Assistant, University of Iowa, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

James D. Woodell

Undergraduate Student, University of Iowa

Mac Flack

Undergraduate Student, University of Iowa Department of Environmental Sciences

Irene Tunno

Paleoecologist , University of Nevada, Reno

Brina Kamae

Stream Ecologist / Lab Technician, California State University, Long Beach

Sergio Mendoza

Undergraduate Student, Stream Ecologist, California State University, Long Beach

Joanna Gauthier

PhD Student, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Behnaz Balmaki

PhD Student, University of Nevada, Reno

Eilleen Salas

M.S Student, California State University, Long Beach

Lynn Brant

Emeritus Professor of Geology, University of Northern Iowa

Steve Main

Professor, Retired, Wartburg College

Evelyn Gaiser

Southeast Environmental Research Center

Adam Heathcote

St. Croix Watershed Research Station

This project was first entered on 17 September, 2015 by Sylvia Lee