Life Science, Natural Selection & Evolution, NSE 1: Fossil Records (MS), NSE 4: Adaption (HS), NSE 5: Population Flux (HS)

What Diatoms Can Tell Us

Diatom ecological response to deposition of the 833-850 CE White River Ash (east lobe) ashfall in a small subarctic Canadian lake

SUMMARY: This article looks at diatom population differences affected by volcanic rock deposits into a lake before, during, and after an eruption event. Results showed that diatom population patterns were able to quickly return to the pre-eruption ratios.

LESSON COMMENTS: There are a few types of diatoms mentioned in this article and this paper would be helpful in a lesson or lab on the importance of diatoms in aquatic ecosystems. Diatoms can be easily found in lakes and ponds and rivers by students and don’t require high powered microscopes to see. You can compare the differences in the diatom type and population depending on seasons and locations (both of which are also addressed in this paper). Further discussions can be had on the possible effects on ecosystems if diatom populations were to change due to pollution, climate change, and other human activities.

Hutchinson, S. J., Hamilton, P. B., Patterson, R. T., Galloway, J. M., Nasser, N. A., Spence, C., & Falck, H. (2019). Diatom ecological response to deposition of the 833-850 CE White River Ash (east lobe) ashfall in a small subarctic Canadian lake. PeerJ, 7, e6269. doi:10.7717/peerj.6269