Lake of the Woods, Paleolimnology, Diatom taxonomy  
Paleolimnological Research
   :Lake of the Woods (LoW) Diatoms

Diatom Workshop Lake of the Woods

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  Diatom taxa from the Lake of the Woods region

Diatoms (siliceous algae) have been a mainstay for paleolimnological research because they possess many desirable characteristics. Their siliceous cell walls preserve well in most lake sediments, they remain stable in the sedimentary sequence, they have taxonomically-specific ornamentation that enables identification to low taxonomic levels (e.g. variety), many species have narrow optima to a given environmental variable and they respond quickly to changes in their environment.

An important aspect of paleolimnological research that involves more than one researcher is to strive for taxonomic consistency among various working groups. Taxonomic harmonization is particularly essential for establishing calibrations sets and ultimately applying diatom-based inference models to downcore sedimentary sequences. In these cases it becomes readily apparent that the taxonomy used in the calibration samples must be consistent among datasets and with the taxonomy used in the sediment core analysis. Therefore, to successfully combine calibrations data and to exchange diatom-based models (e.g. for total phosphorus) among different working groups, it is essential to minimize no-analogue problems that are derived from taxonomic inconsistencies.

Issues related to diatom taxonomic consistencies were tackled for the Lake of the Woods and surrounding regions through the organization of a diatom workshop and through exchanges of diatom slides among laboratories. The Lake of the Woods Diatom Workshop document (click the image to the left) is an essential step towards taxonomic harmonization.