Students studied diatoms from lakes and wetlands of Iowa, urban streams in Baltimore, the turtle shells from Oklahoma and lava tubes of Hawaii. By the end of the first week, students had completed in-depth studies of ecological range of several diatom species: Mastogloia grevillei, Rhoicosphenia abbreviata, Surirella brebissonii and Decussata placenta. By the end of the second week, students applied their knowledge of diatoms to research projects. The projects were presented in the form of videos at the student symposium on the final day of the course. Check out the projects via the links (above).

Teaching Assistant Kevin Dong investigated the diatom Ulnaria spathulifera from Burnt Cedar Beach, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Kevin conducted an extensive examination of seasonal abundance of 3 morpho-groups, which vary in the apical widths of the spathulate ends of this taxon. He is working toward completing a species page for Diatoms of the US, based on his investigations.

Education Resident Kirsten Menking, Professor of Earth Science at Vassar College, worked on building reference floras for Pleistocene diatoms from Lake Estancia in central New Mexico and modern diatoms from the Northeast US. The goal of her work was to learn how to use diatoms as indicators climatic change, and apply that knowledge to advising undergraduate students at Vassar College in research projects.


  • Friends of Lakeside Laboratory

    - Student support


Sylvia Lee

Biologist U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Kerry Howard

Truckee Meadows Community College

Shelly Wu

Diatom Enthusiast

Kevin Dong

Undergraduate Student University of Iowa

Kirsten Menking

Professor, Vassar College

Image Credit: Kerry Howard and Shelly Wu
At home, at the microscope
Image Credit: Kerry Howard and Shelly Wu
Collecting at the Spirit Lake spillway
Image Credit: Kerry Howard and Shelly Wu
Sioux Falls Park, South Dakota