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College Prep Diatoms 2017



Eight students from Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois participated in a one or two-week course at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory and earned college credit.


Decussata placenta | Mastogloia grevillei | Rhoicosphenia abbreviata | Surirella brebissonii |


Chironomid's favorite diatom food
Red-Eared Slider hitchhikers
Gwynn Falls Watershed

Students studied diatoms from lakes and wetlands of Iowa, urban streams in Baltimore, the turtle shells from Oklahoma and lava tubes of Hawaii. By the end of the first week, students had completed in-depth studies of ecological range of several diatom species: Mastogloia grevillei, Rhoicosphenia abbreviata, Surirella brebissonii and Decussata placenta. By the end of the second week, students applied their knowledge of diatoms to research projects. The projects were presented in the form of videos at the student symposium on the final day of the course. Check out the projects via the links (above).

Teaching Assistant Kevin Dong investigated the diatom Ulnaria spathulifera from Burnt Cedar Beach, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Kevin conducted an extensive examination of seasonal abundance of 3 morpho-groups, which vary in the apical widths of the spathulate ends of this taxon. He is working toward completing a species page for Diatoms of the US, based on his investigations.

Education Resident Kirsten Menking, Professor of Earth Science at Vassar College, worked on building reference floras for Pleistocene diatoms from Lake Estancia in central New Mexico and modern diatoms from the Northeast US. The goal of her work was to learn how to use diatoms as indicators climatic change, and apply that knowledge to advising undergraduate students at Vassar College in research projects.


Friends of Lakeside Laboratory

| Student support


Sylvia Lee

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

Kerry Howard

Ph.D. Student, Department of Geological Sciences & Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno

Shelly Wu

Diatom Enthusiast,

Kevin Dong

Undergraduate Student, University of Iowa

Kirsten Menking

Professor, Vassar College

This project was first entered on 07 August, 2017 by Sylvia Lee