Mark Edlund and Sylvia Lee taught the class. Students came from University of Iowa, University of Southern California Long Beach, University of Nevada Reno, and McGill University. Nick Schulte was awarded the Kingston Teaching Fellowship, and was joined by Ian Bishop and David Burge, bringing together the Kingston Trio. Adam Heathcote provided a paleolimnology lesson and lead the class on a coring expedition to East Lake Okoboji and Lake Minnewashta. Visiting researchers also included Lynn Brant, Evelyn Gaiser, and Steve Main.

Students investigated the morphology, allometry, and sexual reproduction of Encyonema reimeri from West Lake Okoboji, Iowa. Collections made on 18 May 2015 showed a bimodal distribution of cell sizes that extended the upper size range known for this taxon, a positive relationship between valve length and breadth, and no apparent relationship between striae density and cell size. The class returned to collect new material after two weeks and found that the size distribution of cells had shifted downward and that there was evidence that the population was undergoing sexual reproduction. Two gametangial cells were paired in a copulation mucilage and each produced two isogametes. Pairing and fertilization most likely followed Geitler's Normal Type 1c reproduction with no apparent relationship between gametangial cells and expanding auxospores.

A second project focused on the seasonal succession of diatom epiphytes on Cladophora at Triboji Beach, West Lake Okoboji from 13 May, 26 May, and 8 June 2015. Students practiced diatom enumeration methods and were introduced to ordination. They observed a shift in the epiphyte community, with diatoms from the earliest and latest collection dates exhibiting the most dissimilar assemblage composition.

The class prepared a poster for a scientific meeting, based on the class project:

Nick Schulte, Elaine Jordan, James Woodell, Mac Flack, Irene Tunno, Sabrina Kamae, Sergio Mendoza, Joanna Gauthier, Blamaki Behnaz, Eilleen Salas, David Burge, Sylvia Lee, and Mark Edlund. 2015. A closer look at Encyonema reimeri. North American Diatom Symposium, Beaver Island, Michigan.

This Kingston Trio (Nick Schulte, Kingston Fellow 2015; Ian Bishop, 2014; David Burge, 2013) provided campfire serenades.


  • J.C. Kingston Fellowship

    Teaching Fellowship - Nick Schulte

  • E.F. Stoermer Scholarship

    Merit Scholarship - Ian Bishop

  • C.W. Reimer Scholarship

    Merit Scholarship - Irene Tunno

  • Friends of Lakeside Lab

    Educational Support

  • Okoboji Foundation

    Educational Support

  • Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust

    Student Microscopes and Imaging Systems

  • Messengers of Healing Winds

    Student Microscopes and Imaging Systems


Mark Edlund

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

Senior Scientist Science Museum of Minnesota

Sylvia Lee

Biologist U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Nick Schulte

Research Scientist Jonah Ventures

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

Ian Bishop

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

Graduate Student Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island

Elaine Jordan

Undergraduate student, Research Assistant University of Iowa, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

James D. Woodell

Undergraduate Student University of Iowa

Mac Flack

Undergraduate Student University of Iowa Department of Environmental Sciences

Irene Tunno

Paleoecologist University of Nevada, Reno

Brina Kamae

Stream Ecologist / Lab Technician California State University, Long Beach

Sergio Mendoza

Undergraduate Student, Stream Ecologist California State University, Long Beach

Joanna Gauthier

PhD Student McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Behnaz Balmaki

PhD Student University of Nevada, Reno

Eilleen Salas

M.S Student California State University, Long Beach

Lynn Brant

Emeritus Professor of Geology University of Northern Iowa

Steve Main

Professor emeritus Retired, Wartburg College

Evelyn Gaiser

Southeast Environmental Research Center

Adam Heathcote

St. Croix Watershed Research Station

Image Credit: Nick Schulte
Sexual reproduction in E. reimeri may follow Geitler’s Type IA1a (Fig C, D) or possibly Type IC (Fig. B). Two parental cells are paired ventral to ventral within a common copulation mucilage that is further covered in organic and mineral debris (Fig. A). Each parental cell appears to produce two gametangia that are released into the mucilage for pairing. The two resultant auxospores undergo expansion and silicification to become initial cells, but it was unclear if there was a distinct orientation (parallel or non-oriented) to the parental cells.
Diatom Tshirt Front
Image Credit: Sylvia Lee
Every year, the students in the diatom course design a class t-shirt. This year's shirt shows taps at a brewery. Can you name the genera on tap?