Because interpretation of fossil records relies on understanding modern environmental controls, I also have active projects on modern diatom ecology in saline lakes and of modern limnological gradients in the northern grasslands.
I now have a modern database of diatom species composition and water-chemistry characteristics from the North American interior, which includes over 200 lakes from Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Saskatchewan, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, and Wyoming.
We have studied the influence of salinity and ion composition on nutrient availability and the role of dissolved organic carbon in affecting patterns of diatom dominance in prairie lakes.
Primary collaborators include Jasmine Saros (U. Maine) and Chris Osburn (NC State).
F r i t z R e s e a r c h
Sampling diatoms near Kettle Lake, North Dakota
(photo by Jim Almendinger)
Water-chemistry sampling in the Nebraska Sand Hills
(photo by Danuta Bennett)
A selection of diatom taxa common to the Nebraska Sand Hills: Cyclotella meneghiniana, Tryblionella angustata, Cyclotella ocellata, and Surrirella minuta.