My interest in diatom taxonomy and ecology was sparked after taking a job as a technician (read: dishwasher, pipette operator) in a periphyton ecology lab as an undergraduate. A glimpse through a scope revealed what the slimy stuff was on filters I had been processing for months. Scope-time never really stopped after that, as I have devoted most my time since then to understanding the ecology and taxonomy of diatoms. Along the way I have focused on various aspects of population, community, and ecosystem ecology in research projects related to species-nutrient interactions, bloom dynamics and metabolism in freshwater systems throughout the western USA.