Sarah A. Spaulding


Ph.D. Ecology (1996), Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO. Dissertation: Algal investigations at varying temporal scales in an extreme environment: McMurdo Dry Valley Lakes, Antarctica.

M.S. Biology (1991), Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO. Thesis: Phytoplankton dynamics under ice-cover in a subalpine lake.

B.A. Biology (1982), University of Colorado, Boulder CO

Professional Interests

I am interested in taxonomy, paleoecology, systematic, assessment and biogeography of diatoms. My research is directed toward understanding diatom biology and the ecological roles of diatoms on the planet. I am passionate about sharing diatom taxonomy and ecology with scientists, students and the public. I currently serve as the Chair of the Editorial Review Board for collaborative, electronic, peer-reviewed flora, Diatoms of the United States.


Ecologist, US Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division (2004 – present)

Research Scientist II and Directorate Member, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder CO (2009 - present)


Affiliate Faculty Appointment, Biology Department, Colorado State University (2015 - present)


Adjunct Faculty Appointment, Biology Department, University of Iowa, Ames (2015 - present).


Adjunct Faculty Appointment, Geology Department, University of Colorado, Boulder (2005 - present).

Visiting Assistant Professor, Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms, Iowa State University, Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, Milford IA (2000 - 2009, 2011-2013)

Selected Recent Publications

Sakaeva, A., Stanish, L.F., Kohler, T.J., Spaulding, S.A., McKnight, D.M., Howkins, A., Welch, K.A., Lyons, W.B., Sokol, E.R. and Barrett, J.E. 2016. Evidence for dispersal and habitat controls on pond diatom communities in the McMurdo Sound Region of Antarctica. Polar Biology 1-16.


Spaulding, S.A. 2015. Antarctic Lakes. Book Review. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. 47(2): 211-212.


Spaulding, S.A., Otu, M., Wolfe, A.P. and Baron, J. 2015. Paleolimnological records of nitrogen deposition in shallow, high-elevation lakes of Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, U.S.A. Arctic, Alpine and Antarctic Research 47(4): 701-715.


Bishop, I. and Spaulding, S.A. 2015. Tetracyclus hinziae (Bacillariophyta), a new species from the central Cascade Mountains (WA, USA). Phytotaxa


Bergey, E.A. and Spaulding. S.A. 2015. Didymosphenia: it’s more complicated. A response to the Forum article by Taylor and Bothwell (2014). Bioscience  doi:10.1093/biosci/biu226

Spaulding, S.A. 2014. Associate Editor, Special Volume on Didymosphenia geminata, Diatom Research 29(3): 227-306.

Cullis, J.D.S., McKnight, D.M. and Spaulding, S.A. 2015. Hydrodynamic control of benthic mats of Didymosphenia geminata at the reach scale. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 72(6): 902-914.

Personius, S.F., Briggs, R.W., Nelson, A.R., Schermer, E.R., Maharrey, J.Z., Sherrod, B.L., Spaulding, S.A. and Bradley, L. 2014. Holocene earthquakes and right-lateral slip on the left-lateral Darrington-Devils Mountain fault zone, northern Puget Sound, Washington. Geosphere 10.1130/GES01067.1

Brahney, J., Spaulding, S, Ballantyne, A.P., Otu, M., Neff, J.C. 2014. Separating the influences of diagenesis, productivity, and anthropogenic nitrogen deposition on sedimentary d15N variations. Organic Geochemistry.

Kociolek, J.P., Lowe, R. and Spaulding, S.A. 2014. Symmetrical Naviculoid Diatoms. In: Sheath, R. and Wehr, J. (eds). Freshwater Algae of North America, Second Edition. Academic Press. (in press)

Brahney, J., Ballantyne, A., Kociolek, J.P., Spaulding, S.A., Otu, M., Porwall, T. and Neff, J.C. 2014. Dust mediated transfer of phosphorus to alpine lake ecosystems of the Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA. Biogeochemistry.

Nakov, T., Ruck, E.C., Galachyants, Y., Spaulding, S.A. and Theriot,.E. 2014. Molecular phylogeny of the Cymbellales (Heterokonthophyta: Bacillariophyceae) with a comparison of models for accommodating rate-variation across sites. Phycologia 53 (4): 359¡V373.

Lee, S.L., Gaiser, E.E., Van de Vijver, B., Edlund, M.B. and Spaulding, S.A. 2014. Taxonomic investigation of Mastogloia smithii and variety lacustris: a status change and a new species from the Florida Everglades and the Caribbean region. Diatom Research.

Benson, M.E., Kociolek, J.P., Spaulding, S.A., and Smith, D.M. 2012. Pre-Neogene (>23.8 MA) biochronology of non-marine diatoms, with an account of the late Eocene flora of the Florissant Formation, central Colorado, USA. Stratigraphy 9: 131-152.

Spaulding, S.A., Jewson, D., Bixby, R., Nelson, H. and McKnight, D.M. 2012. Automated measurement of diatom size. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 10: 882-890. DOI: 10.4319/lom.2012.10.882

Reid, B.L., Hernandez, K.L., Frangopoulis, M., Bauer, G., Lorca, M., Kilroy, C. and Spaulding, S.A. 2012. The invasion of the freshwater diatom Didymosphenia geminata in Patagonia: prospects, strategies, and implications for biosecurity of invasive species in continental waters. Conservation Letters DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2012.00264.x

Stanish, L.F., O’Neill, S.P., Gonzalez-Pena, A., Legg, T.M., Knelman, J., McKnight, D.M., Spaulding, S. and Nemergut, D.R. 2012. Bacterial-diatom community and co-occurrence relationships exist in microbial mats from polar desert streams. Environmental Microbiology DOI: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2012.02872.x.

Sundareshwar, P.V., Upadhayay, S., Abessa, M., Honomichl, S., Berdanier, B., Spaulding, S.A., Sandvik, C. and Trennepohl, A. 2011. Didymosphenia geminata: algal blooms in oligotrophic streams and rivers. Geophysical Research Letters 38.

Spaulding, S.A., McKnight, D.M., Stanish, L., Van de Vijver, B. and Hodgson, D. 2010. Diatoms as indicators of environmental change in Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic freshwaters. In: Smol, J. and E.F. Stoermer (eds). The Diatoms: Applications for the Environmental and Earth Sciences. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge pp. 267-286.

Spaulding, S.A., Kilroy, C. and Edlund, M. 2010. Diatoms as invasive species. In: Smol, J. and E.F. Stoermer (eds). The Diatoms: Applications for the Environmental and Earth Sciences. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge pp. 560-569.

Spaulding, S.A., Pool, J.R., Castro, S.I. and Hinz. 2010. Notes on species within the genus Encyonema Kutzing, including two new species Encyonema reimeri sp. nov. and E. nickcafei sp. nov. and E. stoermeri nom. nov., stat. nov. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.

Van de Vijver, B., Mataloni, G., Stanish L. and Spaulding, S.A. 2010. New and interesting species of the genus Muelleria (Bacillariophyta) from the Antarctic Region and South Africa. Phycologia 49: 22-41.

Pite, D., Lane, K., Hermann, A, Spaulding, S.A. and Finney, B. 2009. Historical abundance and morphology of Didymosphenia geminata in Naknek Lake, Alaska. Proceedings of the 20th International Diatom Symposium, Acta Bot. Croat. 68: 183-197.

Kumar, S., Spaulding, S.A., Stohlgren, T., Hermann, K., Schmidt, T. and Bahls, L. 2009. Modelling the bioclimatic profile of the diatom Didymosphenia geminata. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 8: 415-420. 





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