Freshwater Algae Identification Intensive Summer Workshop

Summer Workshop: June 15 to June 29, 2016

This workshop will embark on a study of the largest, most diverse, and arguably the most important group of plants on earth: the algae.

Algae form the base of aquatic food webs, and are both the cause of water quality issues and a tool in ecological assessments used to protect inland waters.

Students will learn the features that distinguish and are used to identify members of all major groups of freshwater algae, as well as the methods of collecting, quantifying, and growing algae.

Synura sp

The workshop will also emphasize the ecology and diversity of algae in freshwater habitats; introduce methods for using algae to assess water quality and the integrity of aquatic ecosystems.


  • Intensive, two-week field course (3 credits)
  • Tentative dates: June 15-29, 2016
  • Each day will provide lecture-­‐discussion, field sampling, and lab experiences to gain knowledge of the algal groups and develop skills in identification and quantification of algal assemblages
  • Classes meet daily for 8 hours/day (with lunch break)
  • 3-4 Lecture hours in morning / 5-7 hours lab or field in afternoon


The workshop will be offered at the Louis Calder Center, the Biological Field Station of Fordham University, in Armonk, NY. The area offers diversity of aquatic habitats with numerous, lakes, ponds, marshes, bogs, streams, and rivers, as well as a meso-eutrophic lake at the field station for detailed studies. The station is well-equipped with microscopes, incubators, and aquatic sampling equipment.

Day 1: Algal Characteristics & Classification Field: Calder Lake Sampling 
Day 2: Cyanobacteria Lab: Use of a Dichotomous Key
Day 3: Chlorophyta I Lab/Field: Diversity of Green Algae
Day 4: Chlorophyta II, Charophyta, Euglenophyta Lab/Field: Phytoplankton Quantification
Day 5: Chrysophceae, Synurophyceae Lab: Preparing Permanent Slides
Day 6: Bacillariophyta Lab: Diatom Identification
Day 7: Cryptophyta, Pyrrophyta Field/Lab: Keys for Genus, Species ID
Day 8: Rhodophyta; Phaeophyta Lab: Quantifying Algal Metrics
Day 9: Ecology of Lentic Communities Field: Littoral, Benthic and Planktonic Habitats
Day 10: Ecology of Lotic Communities Field: Stream Sampling Methods
Day 11: Applied Studies; Nuisance Forms; Indicators Lab: Harmful Algal Blooms
Day 12: Bioassays, Data Analysis Methods Lab: Data Analyses