Become a diatom taxonomist, certified by the Society for Freshwater Science.

The Level 1 Diatom Taxonomic Certification indicates an up-to-date working knowledge of the diagnostic characteristics of accepted North American inland diatom genera, providing a practical base for proficiency in performing taxonomic identifications of inland diatoms at the genus level. This certification serves as the first step. In the upcoming year, higher certification exams will be developed and tested.

The Society of Freshwater Science Taxonomic Certification Program was implemented to certify that trained and skilled people are providing aquatic identifications in North America. The Stroud Water Research Center currently administers the Taxonomic Certification Program for SFS. The successful completion of the taxonomic certification process results in a certificate of proficiency in performing taxonomic identifications of inland diatoms that stands for 5 years.

The program also helps promote undergraduate and graduate training of new taxonomic experts, training of taxonomic technicians through workshops, development of new manuals for identifying aquatic invertebrates and algae, and taxonomic excellence in other disciplines and other parts of the world.

BACKGROUND: The Diatom Taxonomic Certification Committee (Diatom TCC) led by Sylvia Lee, has worked to develop the first exam as one of a series of exams of diatom certification. The committee (Sylvia Lee, Alison Minerovic, David Burge, Julianne Heinlein, Mark Edlund, Jan Stevenson and Sarah Spaulding) have been meeting regularly over the past two years to work out the details of certification.

PREPARATION: Participants can learn about the genera included in the exam and the exam format. A practice test is available to learn the style of the exam and the software that operates it. The taxonomic treatment of the exam will be based on this website, Diatoms of North America. Be sure to visit the links on this page for study material. There will be an informational webinar about the Level 1 exam in late November 2019. The webinar will be recorded and posted on this website.

WEBINAR: Over 50 people, from around the world, joined a live informational session on the Level 1 Diatom Certification program. You can view the recorded webinar by selecting the appropriate link on the right.

DETAILS: The exam is offered online, at the Society for Freshwater Science annual meeting, and at biannual North American Diatom Symposium meetings. The exam is based on composite light and electron micrograph images of diatom genera. The exam includes 60 questions and participants will have 120 minutes to complete the questions. A score of 95% is required for certification.

COST: The fee is set at $100 ($75 for Society for Freshwater Science members). A score of 90% is required to retake the exam at no additional fee.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact [email protected]

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Clint Davis, Rhithron Associates - scored 100% correct on the Level 1 Diatom Exam
Image Credit: John Wehr
Filaments of Fragilaria cf. capucina
Campylodiscus  Sem1