Introduction to the Level 2 Diatom Species Exam

Description: To insure that analysts are qualified in diatom identification, a genus level exam was developed. Over the past two years, under the umbrella of the Society for Freshwater Science, the Diatom TCC has been working to develop a diatom species exam. In this workshop, participants will gain an understanding of the elements of the Level 2 Diatom Species Exam. We will work through the skills that are required and example exam questions. Participants will have the opportunity to take a demo version of the Level 2 exam before it is posted through the Society for Freshwater Science. The Level 2 Diatom Taxonomic Certification indicates knowledge of 1) variation in diatom morphology within a species, 2) morphological operational taxonomic units (mOTUs), and 3) basic concepts of diatom nomenclature. A Level 2 Certification is intended to indicate a practical base for proficiency in using a voucher flora to identify inland diatoms. The primary goal of the Level 2 exam is to help acknowledge a practitioner’s proficiency in the skills used to distinguish mOTUs, identify specimens that should not be included in an mOTU without further investigation, assign formal scientific names to mOTUs using, and understanding basic rules of botanical nomenclature.

Target Audience: This seminar is directed at analysts, students, freshwater ecologists, and taxonomists. We hope to gain feedback from a wide range of participants so that the Level 2 Exam is a fair measure of expertise in diatom species identification.