We held a workshop in Boulder from December 12-15 at INSTAAR, University of Colorado, with the objective of developing content for diatoms.org. We focused on taxa that are well represented in the National Park Service, Great Lakes Network Parks. The parks included Voyageurs NP, Isle Royale NP, Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and Indiana Dunes National Park.

Seven diatomists (Sarah Spaulding, Mark Edlund, Ian Bishop, Lane Allen, Marina Potapova (virtual), Nick Schulte, and Mary Ellen Benson) gathered to 1) create new species pages, 2) review pages 3) consider species flocks, 4) update and revise autecology sections, 5) consider expansion of ecological guilds and traits, and 6) discuss Editorial Review Board tasks.

1) Species pages created

Sellaphora schadei species page created, completed, reviewed, and opened.

Pseudostaurosira microstriata species page created, with image series from Harvey Lake (Isle Royale NP). Specimens were arranged in several morphological size series that illustrate the various sympatric morphotypes of this taxon. Specimens were also examined using morphological biplots. The workshop participants recommended that a hybrid size series be highlighted on the webpage, and that the other size series be displayed in the autecology section.

2) Species pages reviewed

Species pages were reviewed and opened to public view during the workshop.

Gyrosigma obtusatum page reviewed and almost opened,

Neidium hiercynicum page reviewed and opened

3) Species flocks

We worked on Tabellaria flocculosa morphotypes (species group) following the scheme of Koppen (1975), which included‑Tabellaria flocculosa III, IIIp, IV, var. linearis, and T. quadriseptata. These morphotypes are widely recognized in environmental assessment in North America (Camburn and Charles 2000, Edlund et al. 2011).

We examined specimens from lakes in northeastern US (Potapova et al. 2022), material from Isle Royale NP (Lakes Richie, Sargent, Wallace) and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Lake Florence), and from Voyageurs NP (Shoepack Lake).

Species pages are in process for Tabellaria morphotypes.

4) Autecology

Many of species pages completed at the beginning of the project in 2010 had missing or scant autecological information on species distributions, ecology, and environmental indicator values. We worked to add autecological documenation to taxon pages in the NPS GLKN data. 

Fragilariforma polygonata added additional images, NPS distribution

Discostella stelligera added distribution, ecology, and environmental indicator values

Discostella pseudostelligera added distribution, ecology, and environmental indicator values, 

Eunotia incisa added distribution, ecology, and environmental indicator values

5) Ecological guilds and functional traits

Recent work on diatoms as multi-metric environmental indicators has highlighted the use of “ecological guilds” to better describe growth forms and habitat preferences of individual taxa (Passy et al. 2005; Rimet and Bouchet 2012; Marcel et al. 2017, Riato et al. 2022). Based on these studies and a shared goal to improve our autecology sections, Ian first surveyed DONA taxa for missing functional trait tags (i.e. size, motility, attachment, colony, habitat) and recommended that we: a) fill missing values in as appropriate, and b) indicate to contributors that tags are non-exclusive (e.g. check both “Benthic, Planktonic” for habitat when commonly tychoplanktonic). To further capture autecological information and allow users to discriminate between distinctly adapted functional groups in algal ecosystems, Ian also proposed that we add an additional autecological tag for “Ecological guild”. Ian proposed five values for an environmental guild tag:

Low-profile: “This group is formed by small species, species directly attached to the substrate by the whole valve area, species attached parallel to the substrate by the apex or attached perpendicularly and slow-moving species. Genera such as Achnanthes, Achnanthidium, Amphora, Cocconeis, Cymbella, Opephora and Remeria pertain to this group.” (Marcel et al. 2005)

High-profile: “longer erect species, filamentous, “branched” (arborescent), pedunculate and chain or tube-forming species. Genera such as Diatoma, Eunotia, Fragilaria, Gomphoneis, Gomphonema and Ulnaria pertain to this group.” (Marcel et al. 2005)

Motile: Species “capable of fast motion and continuously migrating to find suitable growth conditions. Genera such as Navicula, Nitzschia, Sellaphora and Surirella pertain to this group.” (Marcel et al. 2005)

Tychoplanktonic: Unattached, weakly- or non-motile taxa common to the benthic environment which regularly resuspend and live in the planktonic environment.

Planktonic: Taxa adapted to life predominantly suspended in the water column.

6) Other actions 

Edlund provided a running list of updates for consideration on diatoms.org. Following discussion, decision was made to provide a practitioner update and solicit comment on actions/changes upcoming. These changes may include:

a) update Decussatophycus

b) update Gomphadelpha

c) update Mastogloia grevillei

d) Pen a Notula Algarum manuscript proposing transfer of Foged taxon, Gomphonema v. densistriatum to Gomphonella

e) add genus page for Crenotia

f) change Navicymbula pusilla to Seminavis pusilla, note change on Navicymbula page

g) Lindavia vs Pantocsekiella