Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms course, 2016



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 2016 are completed.


Gomphonema sarcophagus | Pleurosigma inflatum | Surirella striatula | Surirella tenera | Tryblionella gracilis |

Mark Edlund and Sylvia Lee taught the 54th annual offering of the class at Iowa Lakeside Lab. Visiting researchers included David Burge, Lynn Brant, Steve Main, Matthew Julius, and Jennifer Beals.

The class collaborated with Paul Hamilton, Canadian Museum of Nature, to isolate single cells of diatoms in the genera Didymosphenia and Gyrosigma for sequencing of chloroplast DNA. A very fine glass pipette was used to aspirate a diatom cell and transfer it to a sterile drop of water. This process was repeated until the cell was isolated from debris and contaminants, especially non-target algal cells. Each isolated cell was transferred to a PCR tube containing tissue stabilizer solution, RNAlater. Sequences from these isolated cells will be used in future class projects, such as diversity and spatial distribution of diatom genes, detection of cryptic species, and understanding the genetic basis of morphological species concepts.

The class also participated in a project, started in 1995, on diatom communities of the Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park in Royal, Nebraska. This year, students took images of diatom valves or fragmenst encountered in two locations: 1) a sand layer representing the watering hole benthos and, 2) an ash layer representing the watering hole that became filled with ash after a supervolcanic eruption that occurred ~12 million years ago. These data will be used to make inferences about the aquatic environment before and during the ashfall event.


J.C. Kingston Fellowship

Teaching Fellowship | Joanna Gauthier

E.F. Stoermer Scholarship

Merit Scholarship | Meredith Tyree

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 |


Sylvia Lee

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

Mark Edlund

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

Joanna Gauthier

PhD Student, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Lisa Doner

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, Center for the Environment, Plymouth State University

Peter Fedrigon

Undergraduate student, University of Iowa

Katie Johnson

Research Scientist II, Phinizy Center for Water Sciences

Jacob Lister

Undergraduate Student, East Tennessee State University

Tahmineh Rouzbahani

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

Meredith Tyree

Professional Research Associate, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado

Jeremy Walls

M.S. student, Ball State University

Paul Hamilton

Curator, Canadian Museum of Nature

Steve Main

Professor, Retired, Wartburg College

David R.L. Burge

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

Lynn Brant

Emeritus Professor of Geology, University of Northern Iowa

Jen Beals

Ph.D. Student, University of Arkansas

Matt Julius

St. Cloud State

This project was first entered on 06 September, 2016 by Sylvia Lee