Mark Edlund, ISDR President

In first grade, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I confidently said (and correctly spelled)—scientist! Not a fireman, not an astronaut, but a scientist. Some amazing parents, a science aunt, and a few influential teachers kept me on that path. I finally met my first diatom as a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, but it was Prof. David Czarnecki’s Freshwater Algae class at Itasca Biology Station that made me realize that something as small, but as globally important as diatoms, could be the focus of my work.

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My name is Mark Edlund, and I am the current president of the ISDR. I joined the ISDR in 1987—as a young diatomist-in-training under Dr. Gene Stoermer—following some face-to-face encouragement from Dr. Frank Round, current ISDR president at the time. For me the ISDR serves as a professional home—I’ve attended almost every IDS meeting since 1990, served on the ISDR Council, been on the Editorial Board of Diatom Research since 2006, published in Diatom Research, co-organized the 21st IDS, and was elected President in 2016.  My role of president involves coordinating Council on any decisions regarding the society, working to make sure our biannual symposium finds a host and is well organized, and working with society matters and meetings at and between our symposia.

In my day job, I’m a Senior Scientist at the St. Croix Watershed Research Station, an environmental research station of the Science Museum of Minnesota. I also have adjunct academic appointments at the University of Minnesota and the University of Iowa that allow me to work with graduate students and teach the annual Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. My research on diatoms has centered on three broad areas. Life histories have long attracted my research efforts, from the cytology and mechanics of sexual reproduction, life history adaptations, to how the diatom life history influences ecology. Diatoms are also excellent ecological and paleoecological indicators, and my work has addressed lake nutrient criteria, management targets, anthropogenic and climate response, and landscape evolution. Finally, large and ancient lakescapes present unique ecological settings for diatom diversity, but also are some of the most sensitive to environmental change. Taxonomy bridges all of these areas and I am a contributor and on the Editorial Review Board of the important web site DOTUS—Diatomsof the United States.

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I’ve happily watched the ISDR evolve to become today’s society serving the needs of the world’s diatomist community. Our journal has moved to a major publisher, larger format, with a significant increase in impact factor. We’ve worked to establish a stronger presence on the web and social media, and most importantly a group of young diatomists has taken up the torch to ensure that the society and diatom research has a strong future. You can read a short history of the society and symposia at: