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Showing posts from September, 2017

Diatom of the Month – September 2017: Rhabdonema adriaticum

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by Shelly Wu*


Figure 1. Mount Hope Bay in Bristol, Rhode Island (June 2017).
Backstory I am a poor grad student who likes to sample diatoms for fun. During my summer teaching job in Rhode Island, I went the grocery store and assembled a cheap, algae sampling kit with plastic travel bottles, spoons, a notebook, a permanent marker, and a Ziploc bag (Fig. 1A). I also used the iNaturalist app to obtain GPS coordinates. If you are on a budget, you can do it too and sample anywhere! 
How did I find the Diatom of the Month?
My exploration along the Mount Hope Bay in Rhode Island began with lifting up a rock to find an Asian Shore Crab (Fig. 1B). It got crabby with me so I gently put the rock back. From a distance, the surrounding rocks near the shoreline were covered with dried, hairy-looking algae and I joked with my friends that the rocks needed to shave (Fig. 1C). I closely inspected the rocks and realized that the dried algae were Ulva lactuca, also known as sea lettuce (Fig. 1D). I wanted …

Sampling diatoms and mud in lakes of Ecuador

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Together with my lab colleague Melina, and Sara, we crossed most of this beautiful Andean country from north to south, and from high to low elevation lakes in 25 days full of water and mud! Along the trip, we have had the opportunity to join with amazing Ecuadorean collaborators, including researchers from University of Cuenca and ETAPA (Henni Hampel and Pablo Mosquera), IKIAM University (Jorge Celi) and ESPOCH (Luis Quevedo). The objective of this fieldwork trip was to sample modern diatoms and lake sediments for (paleo)limnological studies, funded by a National Geographic grant lead by Prof Sheri Fritz, who also did fieldwork the first week with us, together with our close collaborator Paul Baker. In addition, our Ecuadorean super active collaborator Miriam Steinitz-Kannan joined us for the stretch sampling in Cuenca.
We spent the first week (2-8 July) in Imbabura province sampling Yahuarcocha and Piñan lakes. Yahuarcocha lake (coring crew: Paul A Baker, Sheri Fritz, Melina Feitl an…