Polar Marine Diatom Workshop


First Circular
Presentation Guide


Statement of Interest Form

2018 Iowa


6th Polar Marine Diatom Workshop
August 6-10, 2018
Iowa Lakeside Lab, Milford, Iowa, USA

Overview of the Polar Marine Diatom Workshop

The PMDW is a community-led, international workshop that combines longer, microscope-based taxonomy sessions, shorter research talks, and posters all focused on diatoms from the polar regions, past and present. The workshop aims to integrate highly experienced senior-level, mid-career and early career scientists with graduate and undergraduate students in order to pass on the finer aspects of taxonomy and ensure standard identification protocols in labs everywhere. We will do hands-on analysis of diatom assemblages from a wide range of environmental settings, including sea ice and marginal ice zones, open ocean waters, upwelling zones, benthic marine habitats and non-marine communities, all focused on Arctic and Antarctic settings.

A tradition of episodic Polar Marine Diatom Workshops was established decades ago, and has served to feed and maintain the community by meeting every other year in disparate locations. Over the past decade or so, we have met in Salamanca, Spain; Cardiff, Wales; Lincoln, Nebraska; Sydney, Australia; and Yamagata, Japan. This year we’re returning to the US and are planning the workshop at the Lakeside Lab August 6-10, 2018. We chose this location because of the historic association of the Macbride lab with freshwater diatoms and the desire to hold the meeting in a rural setting for a change.

Workshop Site

The workshop will be held at the Iowa Lakeside Lab Regents Resource Center in Milford, Iowa, USA. The Iowa Lakeside Lab is situated on a stunning 147-acre campus on the shores of West Okoboji Lake in rural, northern Iowa. It is the home of the Macbride Lab, which has hosted the well-known Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms course for many years. The lab was renovated in 2003 to include Leica microscopes with 1000x magnification for diatom identification.


Themes will be proposed by attending participants and as such, all participants are expected to present either a microscope session or a research presentation.

Registration Fees

Senior Scientist$180
Early Career < 5 years from PhD$140
Late Registration After July 15$250

Registration fees cover lodging at Iowa Lakeside Lab, most workshop meals, the workshop program and microscope slides.

Time Table

Uploading Abstracts/Handouts

  1. Abstracts/handouts should be uploaded to the conference Cybox by August 1 so that we can bind them into a workshop booklet. Please name your abstract/handout in this format: YOURNAME_SESSION.doc or YOURNAME_SESSION.pdf so we will know which session it goes with. You can email it to: 6th_Pol.85n3k4bbcrynru6w@u.box.com (I know it’s a crazy address, best to copy/paste. I will send you an email of confirmation that I received your handout. If you don’t get an email within 24 hours, you might check with me or try again).
  2. Please keep abstracts to one page or less, you may include an optional figure. Be sure to include title, authors, and presentation type in your document.
  3. Handouts may be any length.

Download detailed Presentation Guide.


The lab is located three hours from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. Shuttles will be arranged to and from the Minneapolis Airport as part of the workshop, and ride-share agreements will be arranged by and for other participants.


Workshop participants will be staying on the campus of the Iowa Lakeside Lab and will have a choice of lodging options ranging from hotel style accommodations to rustic, lakeside, open-air cabins. There are options for both shared and private rooms as well as shared and private baths.

Stone/Cedar Cabins: Rustic living quarters, generally shared; Twin sized beds, no heating or air-conditioning; Shared bath house located nearby; sink with running water inside cabin; small closet space with drawers for limited belongings; close to the dining hall and the labs; some cabins have screened in porches.

Faculty Cottage: Rustic living quarters, single occupancy; Double beds, no heating or air-conditioning; private toilet adjacent to room, showers in shared bath house nearby; sink with running water inside cabin; small closet space with drawers for limited belongings; overlooks the lake - gorgeous views, loud during thunder storms.

Rierson: Bedrooms clustered around a kitchen/living area in a modern house. Shared rooms, shared bath within the house. Close to the lab.

Hotel (private or shared rooms available): Typical hotel room with two double beds; heat and air-conditioning; private bath in room; close to dining hall.

There are a few unusual things that you should pack: bathing suit, bug spray, and sunblock!

Basic soap and shampoo is provided in all the rooms but if you have a preference you should bring your own. Some of the cabins don’t have linens, so if you are staying in Stone, Cedar, or Faculty, you should bring sheets, towels, and a sleeping bag/light blanket if you can. If you have no space in your luggage or weren’t planning to check luggage, please let Beth Caissie know. There are some extra linens that can be provided in these cases. Beth will also have sunblock and bug spray to share with the full group if folks can’t bring these things through airport security.

Optional/Evening Events

1. Diatom renderings and cross sections — biological illustration

Using a wide range of materials including: watercolor, gouache, pastels, and pencils we focus on the amazing structure, shape and patterns of diatom cross sections. A multiple step method is provided for students to lay the groundwork for a successful drawing and painting.

Come join us for a creative round of art and get to know your diatoms from a new perspective. This workshop is customized for your individual skill level.

NO ART EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. Beginners welcome. This is your opportunity to have fun and learn something new! All Supplies provided.

Claudia's lectures are simple, straight forward and manageable including demonstrations, which will give you new tools and tips for your repertoire.

An extra project for diatom enthusiasts: Diatom Rubbings. Make your own diatom print!  Using simple materials, we make printmaking easy and fun.

2. Antarctic biostratigraphy evening sessions

Bonus time in the evening to continue working with biostratigraphic reference slides that cover the Cretaceous through Cenozoic of the Southern Ocean. David Harwood will lead a microscope session about this slide set but we will also set aside time in the evening for additional taxonomic discussions amongst Antarctic biostratigraphers so we can get into greater detail than the microscope session will allow.

3. Secrets of the diatoms: how microscopic algae from the polar regions reveal Earth's climate history

On Tuesday night, as part of the summer long Iowa Lakeside Lab lecture series, we’ve been asked to present an outreach event. We are planning a panel discussion followed by hands-on microscope time looking at polar marine diatoms in the microscope. Please indicate if you’re interested in sitting on this panel and/or helping with the microscope time.

4. Campfire in the evening(s)

We’ll have fixings for s’mores and light the fire overlooking the lake.

5. Night out to visit a microbrewery or two

The area is home to two microbreweries: West O Beer and Okoboji Brewing Company. We can arrange a visit to one or both in the evening(s).

6. Relaxed Wednesday afternoon

There are a variety of activities that you can choose from to relax a bit on Wednesday afternoon. These range from swimming, kayaking, or stand up paddle boarding in the lake (bring your bathing suit!), to visiting a local amusement park, to taking part in a prairie hike led by an Iowa State ecologist, or heading out for a cruise around the lake in a pontoon boat, and more. Sign-ups for these activities will occur at the workshop.


We have been lucky to receive support for a limited number of travel grants. If you are interested in applying for one, please note this on the Statement of Interest form. Priority will be given to students, early career, and members of underrepresented groups. Those who receive support are expected to present a microscope session or research presentation.

Organizing Committee

Workshop Support

We are thrilled to acknowledge the support of our sponsors and friends: the US Science Support Program, the Iowa Lakeside Lab Regents Resource Center, the Friends of Lakeside Lab, the International Arctic Steering Committee, and The Micropalaeontological Society. Without their help, this workshop would not be happening.

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