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  • Print publication year: 1999
  • Online publication date: January 2010

Preface

Summary

Diatoms are being used increasingly in a wide range of applications, and the number of diatomists and their publications continues to increase rapidly. Although a number of books have dealt with various aspects of diatom biology, ecology, and taxonomy, to our knowledge, no volume exists that summarizes the many applications and uses of diatoms.

Our overall goal was to collate a series of review chapters, which would cover most of the key applications and uses of diatoms to the environmental and earth sciences. Due to space limitations, we could not include all types of applications, but we hope to have covered the main ones. Moreover, many of the chapters could easily have been double in size, and in fact several chapters could have been expanded to the size of books. Nonetheless, we hope the material has been reviewed in sufficient breadth and detail to make this a valuable reference book for a wide spectrum of scientists, managers, and other users. In addition, we hope that researchers who occasionally use diatoms in their work, or at least read about how diatoms are being used by their colleagues (e.g., archeologists, forensic scientists, climatologists, etc.), will also find the book useful.

The volume is broadly divided into six parts. Following our brief Prologue, Part II contains seven chapters that review how diatoms can be used as indicators of environmental change in flowing waters and lakes. Part III summarizes work completed on diatoms from extreme environments, such as the High Arctic, the Antarctic, and aerial habitats.