This year, Mark Edlund and Sarah Spaulding tag-team-taught the class. Ian Bishop was awarded the Kingston Teaching Fellowship, and was joined by returning OGTAs (Original Gangster Teaching Assistants), David Burge and Elena Jovanovska.

Students and visitors came from Arkansas, Canada, Colorado, Columbia, Delaware, Iowa, Florida, Macedonia, Minnesota, South Dakota and Utah to learn the way that diatoms are. We learned many things together, like Cymatopleura solea produces cells that range in size from 250 µm to 50 µm. We investigated the relation of valve shape to size and pooled student data to ask if a single species could have such an enormous size range, with small cells less than 20% of the maximum cell size. Our class read scientific papers on the topic, including Mann's work on the C. solea life cycle (1987) and on distinct morphologic demes within the population. Based on the class investigation, we think that our population was, indeed, a single reproducing population (although we did want to determine the size of auxospores for definitive confirmation). We will make updates to the size range listed on this website.

Many students and investigators ask the question, "How many diatoms should I count for an analysis?" This year the class investigated different approaches to enumerating diatoms and how to count just enough diatoms to be able to answer their specific research questions. We evaluated the differences between fixed count and stratified counts, and the relation to species accumulation curves and counting efficiency. We found that, as expected, a stratified counting approach uncovered greater species diversity and allowing a higher effective count. Stratified counts had less error that fixed counts, for the same effort. Stratified count data, however, could not be compared with fixed count data so that using a consistent method is crucial in analysis of diatom assemblages. Our conclusions were laid out Gothic font and summarized over beer that had just been filtered through diatomite at the West O Brewery.

As a final project, each student prepared a species page for Diatoms of the US. The pages are ready to be submitted to the Editorial Review Board for evaluation - they will appear at the top of this 2014 class page as they become open to public view. David and Ian continued study of the life history of Diatoma vulgaris, preparing a manuscript based on the previous year's class results.

To Matt Fairchild, Jane Shuttleworth, Steve Hendrix and Mike Lannoo: thank you for making it all possible through your unending support of the diatom course.


  • J.C. Kingston Fellowship

    Teaching Fellowship - Ian Bishop

  • C.W. Reimer Scholarship

    Merit Scholarship - Nicholas Schulte

  • E.F. Stoermer Scholarship

    Merit Scholarship - Margaret Christie

  • Friends of Lakeside Lab

    Educational Support

  • Okoboji Foundation

    Educational Support

  • Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust

    Student Microscopes and Imaging

  • Messengers of Healing Winds

    Student Microscopes and Imaging


Mark Edlund

Content Editor, Centric Diatoms Diatoms of North America, Editoral Review Board

Senior Scientist Science Museum of Minnesota

Sarah Spaulding

Content Editor, Symmetric Biraphid Diatoms Diatoms of North America, Editoral Review Board

Ecologist US Geological Survey

Ian Bishop

Content Editor, Araphid Diatoms Diatoms of North America, Editoral Review Board

Graduate Student Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island

David R.L. Burge

Content Editor, Araphid and Centric Diatoms Diatoms of North America, Editoral Review Board

Assistant Scientist St. Croix Watershed Research Station

Phytoplankton Scientist Natural Resources Research Institute

Adjunct Faculty Iowa Lakeside Laboratory/Ecology and Systemmatics of Diatoms

Elizabeth Alexson

Research Staff Scientist Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth

Michelle Chaput

Doctoral candidate, Geography Department University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Margaret Christie

PhD Student University of Delaware

Jaime Zebill Haueter

M.S. Student South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

Steve Main

Professor emeritus Retired, Wartburg College

Viviana Mazzei

PhD Student Florida International University

Drew Meyers

Undergraduate Student University of Colorado Boulder

Liz Morgan

M.S. Student, Department of Geosciences Brigham Young University

Karen Neil

Ph.D. Student, Department of Geography University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Nick Schulte

Research Scientist Jonah Ventures

Lynn Brant

University of Northern Iowa (retired)

Lisa Kunza

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Elena Jovanovska

Fulbright Fellow, University of Colorado

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Image Credit: Mark Edlund
The class samples the Missouri River.
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Image Credit: Vivi Mazzei
Mark Edlund and Nick Schulte spot diatoms in the epipelon.
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Drew Meyers collects a plankton tow from the Missouri River, while Kingston TA, Ian Bishop, looks on.
C Solea Graphs
Image Credit: Ian Bishop
The class investigated a population of Cymatopleura solea collected at Lazy Lagoon.
Image Credit: Ian Bishop
Living cells (Nitzschia, Cymbopleura, Navicula) collected from Lazy Lagoon.
Mac  A Normanii 46   28  Finished  600X595
Image Credit: Margaret Christie
Actinocyclus normanii collected from sediment core from the Christina River, Delaware near Little Mill Creek.
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Image Credit: Drew Meyers
Live Epithemia argus collected from squeeze of moss on the edge of a pool at Silver Lake Fen, DIckinison County, IA.
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Image Credit: Sarah Spaulding
David Burge and Ian Bishop look for a population of Diatoma vulgaris in East Lake Okoboji.