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Re: [diatom_forum] Kingfisher Pond specimen

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  • charles suslavage
    Hello Dick, I’m glad I asked the question. Thanks for the information. Charles ________________________________ From: Richard Carter
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 18 9:57 PM
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      Hello Dick,

      I’m glad I asked the question. Thanks for the information.


      From: Richard Carter <rcarter68502@...>
      To: "diatom_forum@yahoogroups.com" <diatom_forum@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wed, April 18, 2012 8:41:36 AM
      Subject: Re: [diatom_forum] Kingfisher Pond specimen


      Hi Charles,

      I'm afraid that remark was excessively cryptic, and I'm glad you asked about it.  The New England states are noted for freshwater ponds and small lakes that have a water chemistry rather different from what we find over most of the country, where hard, alkaline water predominates.  In New England the typical pond or lake will have dystrophic water: slightly acidic, very soft, with lots of dissolved humates.  Often the level of humates is high enough to color the water brown, like weak tea.  The result is that these water bodies produce a lot of diatom taxa that are not found elsewhere -- or are very difficult to find, at least.  Genera that are particularly fond of such conditions include Stenopterobia, Eunotia, Actinella.  The majority of the species of Frustulia prefer such conditions, as do many Stauroneis and Pinnularia.  Maine and Massachusetts have long been studied by diatomists for this reason (Ruth Patrick, for example).  There are quite a few diatom taxa that are still very difficult to find outside of their "home range" in the northeast.  Of course, as we dig deeper into the collection and study of freshwater diatoms, species that were thought to be "endemic" to New England are turning up elsewhere, when water conditions are right.  A case in point would be Stauroneis stodderi Lewis.  (Lewis was one of the first to seriously investigate the diatoms of New England.)  Type locality is in New Hampshire, but also reported from Pennsylvania by Patrick and Reimer.  Now we are seeing it elsewhere: Bahls has found it in high altitude ponds in the northern Rockies, and I have it from a recent bog on Vancouver Island (along with many other typical "New England" taxa, on a strew slide kindly provided by Leszek).  This should not be too surprising, I think -- dystrophic water occurs in the taiga forests clear across Canada.  I've caught a lot of fish from small lakes on the Canadian Shield in Manitoba, where the water was clear, clean, and tea-colored.

      I made that remark in my reply to Keith because he and I have often discussed these conditions, due to our mutual interest in desmids.  These algae are also very partial to soft, acidic water, and Keith has found a lot of desmid taxa in his collections from Massachusetts and Maine.  Pinnularia formica is just another species typical of "New England" conditions!

      Hope this is clear -- I think I'm becoming increasingly unintelligible as I age!



      From: charles suslavage <suslavage@...>
      To: diatom_forum@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 10:25 PM
      Subject: Re: [diatom_forum] Kingfisher Pond specimen

      Hello Dick,
      Why would one guess Pinnularia formica (Ehrenberg) Patrick "Seems to prefer fresh water of low mineral content." ??  Just curious.
      Interesting find Keith.

      From: Richard Carter <rcarter68502@...>
      To: "diatom_forum@yahoogroups.com" <diatom_forum@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tue, April 17, 2012 6:17:38 PM
      Subject: Re: [diatom_forum] Kingfisher Pond specimen


      You have a nice specimen of Pinnularia formica (Ehrenberg) Patrick.  An excellent find!  It was originally described from fossil material at Blue Hill Pond, Maine.  Pinnularia polyonca (Brébisson) W. Smith is clearly closely related, as you point out.  It has longer striae, though -- in P. formica the striae are very short, producing a wider axial area.  There are two good drawings in Patrick & Reimer, Pl. 61, figs. 1-2.  It's found throughout New England, and as one might guess: "Seems to prefer fresh water of low mineral content."  P&R, p. 627.

      Good to hear from you!


      From: Keith Shaw <scitech200@...>
      To: diatom_forum@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 5:51 PM
      Subject: [diatom_forum] Kingfisher Pond specimen

      This afternoon I took a sample from Kingfisher Pond in Norfolk County, MA. This freshwater pond is part of a Massachusetts Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary and we were out bird watching in this area on the weekend.

      The sample was loaded with diatoms and many of the usual suspects showed up, but then something quite different (at least for me) showed up - see the posted pic. I found only a single specimen for an initial 4 slide inspection of this sample.
      It's length is approx. 80 um.
      I expect that it may be Pinnularia sp. but I'm not sure about an ID (surprise!). It resembles P. polyonca, but it seems that this species has only been reported in Europe?

      Needless to say I would be very interested in any suugestions for an ID.


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