Mark Edlund and Sylvia Lee taught the 54th annual offering of the class at Iowa Lakeside Lab. Visiting researchers included David Burge, Lynn Brant, Steve Main, Matthew Julius, and Jennifer Beals.

The class collaborated with Paul Hamilton, Canadian Museum of Nature, to isolate single cells of diatoms in the genera Didymosphenia and Gyrosigma for sequencing of chloroplast DNA. A very fine glass pipette was used to aspirate a diatom cell and transfer it to a sterile drop of water. This process was repeated until the cell was isolated from debris and contaminants, especially non-target algal cells. Each isolated cell was transferred to a PCR tube containing tissue stabilizer solution, RNAlater. Sequences from these isolated cells will be used in future class projects, such as diversity and spatial distribution of diatom genes, detection of cryptic species, and understanding the genetic basis of morphological species concepts.

The class also participated in a project, started in 1995, on diatom communities of the Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park in Royal, Nebraska. This year, students took images of diatom valves or fragmenst encountered in two locations: 1) a sand layer representing the watering hole benthos and, 2) an ash layer representing the watering hole that became filled with ash after a supervolcanic eruption that occurred ~12 million years ago. These data will be used to make inferences about the aquatic environment before and during the ashfall event.


  • J.C. Kingston Fellowship

    Teaching Fellowship - Joanna Gauthier

  • E.F. Stoermer Scholarship

    Merit Scholarship - Meredith Tyree

  • 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


Sylvia Lee

Biologist U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Mark Edlund

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

Senior Scientist Science Museum of Minnesota

Joanna Gauthier

PhD Student McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Lisa Doner

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Center for the Environment, Plymouth State University

Peter Fedrigon

Undergraduate student University of Iowa

Katie Johnson

Research Analyst Florida International University

Jacob Lister

Undergraduate Student East Tennessee State University

Tahmineh Rouzbahani

Ph.D. Student Department of Integrative Biology, The University of Texas at Austin

Meredith Tyree Polaskey

Medical Student Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Jeremy Walls

M.S. student Ball State University

Paul Hamilton

Curator Canadian Museum of Nature

Steve Main

Professor emeritus Retired, Wartburg College

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

Lynn Brant

Emeritus Professor of Geology University of Northern Iowa

Jen Beals

Ph.D. Student University of Arkansas

Matt Julius

St. Cloud State

20160602 1406256
Image Credit: Sylvia Lee
Isolating diatom cells for extraction of chloroplast DNA.
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Image Credit: Joanna Gauthier
Squeezing diatoms from the prairie.
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Image Credit: Joanna Gauthier
Smelling Silver Lake Fen.
This year's class t-shirt!