Donald Charles, Ph.D. - Section Leader [Biosketch;
Sonja Hausmann, Ph.D. - Research Scientist
Frank Acker - Staff Scientist III
Ling Ren, Ph.D. - Research Scientist
Patrick Boylan - Staff Scientist I
Pat Palmer - Computer Applications Developer
Alison Minerovic - Algal Analyst (25%)
Past Phycology Section Staff:
Mihaela Enache, Ph.D. - Research Scientist
Eduardo Morales, Ph.D. - Research Scientist [See CV]
Barbara Rinkel, Ph.D. - Research Scientist
Andrew Tuccillo - Staff Scientist I
Melanie Mills - Staff Scientist I (project support)
Will Whalon - Staff Scientist I
Some Ph. D.
scientists in the Phycology Section are also affiliated with Drexel's
Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science (BEES) department.
Other Academy staff working with Phycology:
Elena Colon - Staff Scientist I
ANSP Diatom Herbarium:
Marina Potapova, Ph.D. - Curator
Jana Vesely - Collections Manager
Ph.D.- (Francis Boyer Chair of Limnology)
Charles Reimer, Ph.D. - (Career at the Academy 1952 - 2008)
Phycology Section activities focus on ecology and taxonomy
of freshwater algae, particularly diatoms. We seek to
better understand the distributions of algal taxa
throughout the U.S., and the environmental factors
influencing both the occurrence of taxa over large
scales and the composition of assemblages at
individual sites. We are particularly interested in
applying knowledge of algal ecology to the assessment
of a wide range of environmental issues, but primarily
those related to water quality of rivers and streams.
Because there are so many algal taxa, because they live
in a wide variety of habitats, and because they have
specific ecological requirements, algae are excellent
ecological indicators, particularly of water quality.
Diatoms especially have a long history of use in
ecological assessment. Dr. Ruth Patrick, founder of
the Patrick Center, performed important pioneering research
on use of diatoms for biomonitoring starting in the 1940s.
Our largest project is a Cooperative Agreement with the
USGS NAWQA program to analyze algal samples from
throughout the U.S. Since 1995, the Phycology Section
and it's subcontractors have analyzed over 5,000 samples.
Results are distributed to NAWQA biologists to help
assess ecological conditions. We also analyze national
distributions of taxa and use NAWQA's environmental data
to quantify ecological characteristics of taxa, and
develop new indicator metrics.
On a more regional scale, we are working to develop algal
indicators of high nutrient conditions in Piedmont streams
in New Jersey for the NJ Department
of Environmental Protection. We are also trying to combine
data from this project with several other projects in the
Piedmont ecoregion to create a larger dataset for development
and testing of algal indicators in this region.
To help disseminate information from our studies, we
developed this Phycology Section website. The data
currently accessible from this site are our Algae
Image database and the Diatom Paleolimnology Data
Cooperative (DPDC) database as well as the autecological
data available on the Freshwater Algae section.
The Phycology Section has high quality facilities and
equipment. Some are shared with other PCER Sections, which
also provide valuable services (e.g., water chemistry
analysis). We have a wide variety of field equipment for
taking algal samples (water samplers, sediment coring
equipment, boats), a separate laboratory for preparing
algal samples and making diatom slides, a microwave
apparatus for digesting diatom samples, six high quality
research microscopes, two digital and two film cameras
for the microscopes, local access to scanning electron
microscopes, and an extensive reference collection of
taxonomic and ecological literature - both in the
laboratory and the
Academy Library. Algal analysts work near the
ANSP Diatom Herbarium (largest in North America) and
consult regularly with it's curator, Dr. Marina Potapova.
All Phycology staff have personal computers connected to
the Academy network. The section developed and maintains
several applications and databases, including the North
American Diatom Ecological Database (NADED), which contains
count and other data on over 10,000 samples.
Field collection of periphyton and phytoplankton samples
Deployment and collection of diatometers
Coring of lake and wetland sediments
Analysis of periphyton and phytoplankton samples;
identification and enumeration
Analysis of diatoms in sediment cores; environmental
Digital imaging of algae specimens; light microscope
Description of new diatom taxa
Multivariate analysis of species and environmental data
Calculation and development of metrics and other
water quality indicators
Calibration of inference models for inferring
Water quality assessment based on algal data (e.g.,
Click to view PDF
Click to view the webpage
and recent projects
National Water-Quality Assessment
(NAWQA) program; USGS.
Understanding the Relationship Between Natural
Conditions and Loadings on
Indicators of Eutrophication for New
Jersey Streams; NJ DEP.
Manatawny Creek Ecological Studies of Dam
Removal; PA DEP
Riparian Reforestation in an Urbanizing Watershed:
Effects of Upland Conditions on Instream
Ecological Benefits; U.S. EPA.
Long-term Biological and Chemical Monitoring of
Water Quality in the Savannah
River; Westinghouse Savannah River Company.
Adirondack phytoplankton; U.S. EPA,
Adirondack Ecological Assessment Program.
A Diatom Paleolimnology Data Cooperative (DPDC) for
paleoclimate research; NSF.
Back Row: Frank Acker, Pat Palmer, Judie Marie Roszek,
Middle Row: Nyree Martin, Marina Potapova,
Mihaela Enache, Rosemary Malfi, Andrew Tuccillo,
Front Row: Jennifer Beals, Ruth Patrick,