My interest in microscopy started at age twelve, when I was given a good-quality microscope by my father. Later, Botany Professor Lucern Livingston of Swarthmore College introduced to me to diatoms as part of a senior project on water quality of a suburban creek in Pennsylvania. The project stimulated my curiosity in the structure of diatom frustules, species diversity, and the ecological role of diatoms.

When I retired, I rekindled my interest in microscopy and diatoms. I continue to be intrigued by this understudied group of organisms. Sometimes, I wonder why I keep at it, but there is something compelling about the thrill of discovery. "Ah, yes," my entomologist friend said upon seeing diatoms magnified, "Life on a little-known planet!"

Species contributed

Cocconeis grovei | Peronia fibula

Species reviewed

Pinnularia macilenta