Taxonomic Documentation


This basic work is part of most projects. Samples are processed in several ways, depending on the project.

● To enable species-level identification of diatoms, modern algae samples will be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide and acid to remove organic components. The resulting residue is made into 2 or 3 microscope slides, as desired by the client, which is used for enumeration or more general analysis. These will be sent to the client at the end of the project.

● Sediment samples have several options:

▪ A smear slide can be made, preserving the whole sample, and giving the best representation of the actual abundance of microfossils within the sample. This is the least desirable for viewing intact and clean microfossil specimens, but the preservation of the complete sample is often useful. This is a fast and cheap way to get a quick look at a sample.

▪ A strewn slide of the whole sediment is a second option. This involves suspending the sample in water and dispersing it onto a coverslip, to achieve a result that offers cleaner and more easily identified microfossils. As this takes more time, it has a higher cost.

▪ A sample can also be cleaned as the modern sample, with hydrogen peroxide and acid, if there is a large amount of organic material or minerals. If the algae of interest are calcareous, such as nannofossils, this step is not advised.

Prepared slides of samples are analyzed for algal content. These are either counted or estimated, as desired by the client. Dominant species will be imaged and included along with the counts or abundance estimates and final results or reporting.