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Showing posts from 2016

Diatom of the Month: December 2016 - Tabellaria fenestrata

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by Kristen Dominguez*           As an undergraduate student in Evelyn Gaiser’s Lab at Florida International University (FIU), I was           provided the opportunity to visit and study the algae of the pristine and gorgeous Lake Annie.           Located at the Archbold Biological Station (halfway from Miami to Orlando), this sinkhole lake fed           by rainfall and groundwater is home to a wide variety of organisms, including many planktonic           algae. In 2006, this tiny lake became part of the Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network that           examines global trends in lake ecosystems.











Fig. 1. Kristen taking Secchi depth measurements of water transparency at Lake Annie.

Fig. 2. Kristen Dominguez (left), Dr. Evelyn Gaiser (middle) and Dr. Emily Nodine (right) collecting samples at Lake Annie.

Diatom of the Month: November 2016 - Medlinella amphoroidea

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by Tom Frankovich*
I would like to introduce you all to Medlinella amphoroidea, a new taxon that was observed on loggerhead sea turtles, as the November diatom-of-the month. But, before I get to discussing the morphology and ecology of this new genus and species, I will tell you all a personal story of serendipity and professional relationships. It was early 2013, and I had received an email from Dr. Brian Stacy, a marine veterinarian at the National Marine Fisheries Service, and a friend from when we worked together investigating parasites in marine gastropods. Brian told me that his wife, Dr. Nicole Stacy, also a marine veterinarian, was interested in identifying organisms that she suspected were diatoms that were on skin smear slides and contaminants in blood, urine and teat fluid samples from Florida sea turtles and manatees.

Fig. 1. Dr. Brian Stacy performing a necropsy on a loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta(Photo courtesy Brian Stacy, unknown photographer).
I subsequently found ou…

Drain the Swamp

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“I know more about ISIS than the generals do” Donald Trump advocates “draining the swamp” in Washington.  This statement is personal to me.  After spending the past 6 years studying swamps, I can say in no uncertain terms that draining swamps is bad. Swamps and other wetlands provide habitat to over half of the species deemed threatened or endangered in the US, filter our water, store more carbon than any other ecosystem, protect us from flooding and much more, making wetlands our most valuable ecosystems, thus their protection under the Clean Water Act.
Suggesting that draining swamps is a way to fix America’s problems is to reject science.  We have destroyed over half of our wetlands in this country to devastating effect.  The Everglades provides a great example.  The largest ecological restoration effort in the history of the world revolves around undraining the swamp.  We reduced the Everglades to half of its historical extent for development, but now realize that we made a mista…

Diatom of the month – October 2016: Brachysira brebissonii

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by Charlotte Briddon* 
Brachysira brebissonii (formerly known as Anomoeoneis brachysira) is a freshwater, benthic diatom. It is widespread in lakes and rivers from the Arctic to tropical and temperate regions. In 1981 the Anomoeoneis and Brachysira genera were separated, as two sets of longitudinal ribswere observed in Brachysira specimens, one surrounding the valve (marginally at the junction of valve face and mantle), and another composed of two straight ribs, discontinuous in the central area that border the raphe, which the genus Anomoeoneis lacks.






              Brachysira brebissonii(phototaken by Paul Hamilton at Egg Harbour Lakes, New Jersey, United States; see Hamilton, 2010).
Case study of Tasik Chini
I have chosen this diatom because it has played a meaningful role in aiding our understanding of past and current environmental conditions/water quality at Tasik Chini, (a flood pulse wetland in Malaysia). Tasik Chini, a natural freshwater flood pulse wetland, consists of a series o…

Diatom of the month – September 2016: Aulacoseira granulata

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by Luca Marazzi*

Last week about 800 ecologists from 72 countries, including myself, attended and presented their research at the 10th INTECOL Wetlands conference in the beautiful city of Changshu (2 hrs west of Shanghai). Before this event that takes place every four years (in 2012 we were in Orlando for INTECOL 9), I was honored to give a long seminar on my work on the algal communities of the Okavango Delta and Everglades at the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology (NIGLAS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. I was invited to do that by my friend Xuhui Dong (we studied together for our PhD at the UCL Environmental Change Research Center in the UK). Xuhui and his colleagues recently conducted a paleolimnology study of several floodplain lakes along the mighty Yangtze River (Dong et al., 2016), where they found large numbers of Aulacoseira granulata [(Ehrenberg) Simonsen 1979],which is therefore our September diatom (a belated post).