Diatoms from remote places



A significant finding of this project is the high diatom diversity in wild, remote landscapes - new species are still awaiting discovery.


Brachysira arctoborealis | Cavinula davisiae | Craticula johnstoniae | Cymbella amplificata | Cymbella blinnii | Cymbella designata | Cymbopleura edlundii | Cymbopleura hybrida | Cymbopleura incertiformis var. laterostrata | Cymbopleura incertiformis var. linearis | Cymbopleura maggieae | Cymbopleura perprocera | Cymbopleura tynnii | Diploneis ovalis | Encyonopsis aequaliformis | Encyonopsis lacuscaerulei | Eunotia faba | Eunotia gibbosa | Eunotia hexaglyphis | Eunotia sudetica | Eunotia triodon | Frustulia esandalliae | Gomphonema consector | Gomphonema johnsonii | Kobayasiella jaagii | Kobayasiella madumensis | Kobayasiella okadae | Kurtkrammeria lacusglacialis | Kurtkrammeria neoamphioxys | Kurtkrammeria subspicula | Kurtkrammeria treinishii | Muelleria agnellus | Muelleria spauldingiae | Muelleria tetonensis | Navicula flatheadensis | Navicula piercei | Navicula schweigeri | Navicula volcanica | Navicula weberi | Navicula whitefishensis | Navicula winona | Neidiopsis hamiltonii | Neidiopsis weilandii | Neidium fogedii | Pinnularia suchlandtii | Playaensis circumfimbria | Sellaphora americana | Stauroneis akamina | Stauroneis ancepsfallax | Stauroneis beeskovea |

... and even more species are listed at bottom of page.


Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation
Montana Diatom Collection

The High Mountain Lakes Diatom project was a collaborative effort between Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) and Loren Bahls.

Although the initial target was high elevation lakes in the northwest United States, the scope of the project quickly expanded to include all manner of diatom habitats (springs, creeks, ponds, puddles, pools, tarns, seeps, bogs, fens, etc.) at elevations ranging from near sea level to over 3,000 meters above sea level, in the U.S. and Canada. All of western North America’s major biomes are represented by volunteer collections—arctic tundra, boreal forest, temperate rainforest, deserts, alpine tundra, montane forest, and steppe—and all of the volunteer samples are from remote, relatively unspoiled habitats. Most sites can be reached only by foot or by canoe or kayak, and many are off trail, unnamed, and not on any map.

Altogether, 21 ASC adventurers, or groups of adventurers, collected diatoms. Ten additional volunteers, not affiliated with ASC, also generously collected diatom samples from remote locations in western North America. Collectively, volunteers contributed several hundred samples to the Montana Diatom Collection. To date, these samples have yielded 67 new and rare diatom taxa, many already included in species pages for Diatoms of the US. Volunteers also collected basic water quality data and took photos of the habitats they sampled. The autecology pages for many species are enhanced by water quality data and habitat photos provided by volunteers.

The most significant finding of this project is the high diatom diversity in wild, remote landscapes - new species are still awaiting discovery. In addition to the new and rare taxa listed here, samples collected by volunteers contained scores of unknown taxa that remain to be identified or described. Both conventional habitats—lakes and streams—and unconventional habitats seem to hold equal promise for yielding new and rare taxa.

Besides the discovery of new species and expanding the ranges of many others, samples collected by volunteers have confirmed the central Cascades in Oregon as a diatom species diversity hotspot. This geologically young and dynamic area has more endemic and sub-endemic species than any other area of the Northwest, and perhaps of the entire United States. A concentration of volunteer samples from the North Cascades, Middle Rockies, Northern Rockies and Canadian Rockies will allow for a much finer resolution of diatom floristics and diatom biogeography in these ecoregions than what had been possible before.

Volunteers other than those affiliated with ASC, and their collecting areas:

Wendy Brown Colorado Rockies
Al Johnson Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Barb Johnston Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
Peter Lesica Northwestern Great Plains, Montana
Mike and Shelley Pasichnyk Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks
John Pierce Rocky Mountains, Idaho and Montana
Billy Schweiger Glacier National Park, Montana
Erich Weber California, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington

Bahls, L. 2014. New diatoms from the American West—A tribute to citizen science. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 163: 61-84.


Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation

Loren Bahls |

Volunteer Collectors



Loren Bahls

Faculty Affiliate, Environmental Studies, The University of Montana

Marge Penton

Diatom Enthusiast, Rocky Mountain Biological Lab

Rob Kimmich

Volunteer, This Website

Bill Agnew

Olympics and North Cascades (WA), Mission Mountains (MT)

Eric Bindseil

Tobacco Root Range (MT)

Angela Bohlke

Wallowa Range (OR), North Cascades (WA)

Beverly Boynton

Haida Gwaii (BC), Clearwater River (SK), Coppermine River (Nunavut), Tetons, Wind River Range (WY)

Sage Clegg

Oregon Desert Trail, Bigfoot Trail (CA, OR)

Ryan Davis

Cascades, North Cascades, Olympics, Puget Lowland (WA)

Eli Drake

Cascades, North Cascades, Olympics, Puget Lowland (WA)

Ellie Harmon

Pacific Crest Trail (CA, OR, WA)

Anna Herring

Cascades (WA)

Mike Kautz

Madison Range (MT)

Brendan Leonard

Teton Range (WY)

Marin Academy

Desolation Wilderness (CA)

Rob Pudner

Beartooth Range (MT)

John Soltys and family

North Cascades (WA)

Gregg Treinish

Sierra Nevada Range (CA)

Craig Weiland

Cascades (CA, OR, WA), Olympics, North Cascades and Puget Lowland (WA)

West Oakland Middle School

Desolation Wilderness (CA)

Lisa and Darrin White

North Cascades (WA)

Morris Williams

North Cascades (WA)

More Taxa

Stauroneis boyntoniae | Stauroneis finlandia | Stauroneis fluminopsis | Stauroneis kishinena | Stauroneis pax | Stauroneis rex | Stauroneis separanda |

This project was first entered on 07 December, 2015 by Loren Bahls

Sage Clegg is a wildlife biologist, outdoor educator, and thru-hiker who thrives when outside. She has completed many epic hikes, including the Big Three: Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and Appalachian Trail. When she isn’t out hiking, Sage works in the Mojave with Desert Tortoises when they are above ground (spring and fall). This annual work pattern of summers and winters mostly off allows her to maintain a migratory lifestyle while still being semi-settled.

Beverly Boynton is a retired critical care nurse from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. After decades of rock climbing and mountaineering, she began paddling white water rivers in Alaska and Canada. A major part of such trips was understanding the landscape through which she paddled: the geology, botany, birds, mammals, and indigenous peoples. Of great added interest to her was seeking out intriguing spots where unusual diatoms might lurk, and taking a sample. Beverly finds it an honor to play a small role in such scientific work, and to be part of the long history of arctic collectors.

Bill Agnew is a 64 year old retired general contractor. He is a backpacker and climber and has been happy to be able to spend more time in the mountains. Helping Loren out with his study of diatoms has been very rewarding and Bill is sorry to see the project come to an end. He has also been involved in a photo survey of mammals in the Cascades, particularly wolverines. Unfortunately the wildfires this past summer closed the area where he was working in and limited the amount of data collected.

Craig Weiland grew up in Illinois and headed west to Seattle to complete a M.S degree in civil engineering at UW. This was also a clever ploy to live some place with pretty trails. Craig started hiking, skiing, climbing, and mountaineering, and has not looked back. After sampling diatoms, he participated in other ASC-assisted projects: a pine marten study on the Olympic National Forest, the American Prairie Reserve’s Sun Prairie project in northern Montana, and the ASC global microplastics initiative.

Ryan Davis lives in Seattle, WA by way of New York State and Maine. Her favorite places to hike are the North Cascades, and most recently the Italian Alps. She lives with her hiking and diatom collecting partner Eli and her cat Shoehorn.