below (right): cell with spines. LM scalebar = 10 µm.
Analyzing the abundance patterns of Aulacoseira granulata and other planktonic and benthic diatoms, paleolimnologists are able to reconstruct past environmental conditions, such as nutrients, pH, salinity, plant cover, and land use so that gradual and abrupt environmental changes can be better understood and predicted. Wetlands are under severe threats (the Wetland Extent Index has declined 30% in the 1970-2008 period4), understudied, and not too clearly defined yet, therefore, if we want to deeply inform their conservation and sustainable management, international collaborations stemming from high-profile conferences such as INTECOL Wetlands are crucial. I am happy to report from Changshu that this community is very motivated and vibrant. And diatoms, beyond being stunning living organisms, are essential to better understand aquatic ecosystems, so let’s conserve them and their habitats, shall we?