Description: Diatoms are a group of algae that are set apart by their, often considered beautiful, siliceous cell walls. Nearly ubiquitous across the globe, their persistence in nature and extensive species diversity lends well to their use as environmental indicators. This introductory presentation gives a broad overview of what diatoms are, why they are important to monitoring efforts, and how they are identified for monitoring based on their morphological characteristics in light microscopy, with an overview of common freshwater genera found in the United States. will be used as a basis for taxonomic reference.

Target audience: Teachers, students, future analysts; anyone interested in learning more about diatom basics; those interested in a review of diatom generic taxonomy; those interested in using to narrow down an unknown taxon to at least genus level.