This project is a model for ensuring taxonomic consistency across analysts by 1) use of Battarbee Chambers, 2) randomizing sample assignment to analysts, 3) developing a pre-voucher flora, 4) coordinating analysts through weekly webinars, 5) ensuring 20% repeat counts (10% and self 10% cross QA/QC), 6) documenting taxon names and sources, and 7) thorough project documentation.

1) Sediments from 106 lakes in the northeast were processed to produce quantitative slides, through the use of Battarbee Chambers.

2) The samples, along with 6 replicate samples, were randomized for assignment to 3 analysts.

3) A pre-voucher flora based on over 4000 digital images was developed to represent the taxonomic diversity and morphologic range of species.

4) Seven weekly webinars were held for analysts to discuss problematic taxa and highlight new taxa added to the flora as they were encountered. Newly encountered taxa were imaged and incorporated into a weekly updated flora. We led a workshop with the analysts and other interested experts at the Diatom Herbarium at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia on March 27-30, 2018 to assign species names and resolve difficult species boundaries in this project.

5) A rigorous QA/QC procedure documents analyst self consistency and cross analyst consistency.

6, 7) The flora, taxon names, references and R scripts documenting the project and preparing the data for analysis are available at the INSTAAR link.


  • US Environmental Protection Agency

    Regional Voucher Flora and taxon webpages for North Eastern Lakes - Sarah Spaulding


Meredith Tyree Polaskey

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

Sarah Spaulding

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

Ecologist US Geological Survey

Mihaela Enache

Research Scientist The State of New Jersey

Marina Potapova

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

Curator Diatom Herbarium, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Drexel University

Alison Minerovic

DRWI Project Phycologist Patrick Center for Environmental Research

Sylvia Lee

Biologist U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Nina Desianti

J.C. Kingston Fellow Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms

Paul Garrison

Aquatic Ecologist, Onterra, LLC

Julianne Heinlein

Aquatic Ecologist/Algal Taxonomist, Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc.

Ans 2018
An intensive work session at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University supports good data practices.
Stauroneis Staurolineata Guide
Image Credit: Meredith Tyree
Stauroneis staurolineata
Cavinula Jaernefeldtii2 Guide
Image Credit: Meredith Tyree
Cavinula jaernefeldtii
Achanthidium Crassum Guide2
Image Credit: Meredith Tyree
Achanthidium crassum
Neidium Hitchcockii2 Guide
Image Credit: Meredith Tyree
Neidium hitchcockii
Pinnularia Brauniana2 Guide
Image Credit: Meredith Tyree
Pinnularia brauniana