Key to Carolina Freshwater Algae:
A Web-based Tool to Enhance Understanding of Microscopic Biodiversity
Project Description:
The Freshwater Ecology Laboratory at Connecticut College is developing an interactive, web-based, computerized identification key for freshwater algal genera using Lucid Professional software. Our key is designed to be used with algal cultures from the Carolina Biological Supply Company (or other supply companies such as Connecticut Valley Biological Supply or WARD's Natural Science). Users may answer questions in any order to quickly and efficiently narrow down a list of taxa to only those that match the characteristics they have chosen. All characters and terms are clearly explained for ease of use by those unfamiliar with the algae. This non-hierarchical, user-friendly key will be linked to web pages containing a wealth of resources, including images, movies, and information about the morphology, ecology, and reproduction of each organism. The movies incorporate titles, diagrams, and structural terminology to further familarize students with the morphology and taxonomy of the algal groups and genera.
This brief survey will help us to learn about the instructors that would utilize our key and the courses in which it would be used, as well as the availability of facilities and equipment. We will use this information to better develop a useful alternative to traditional dichotomous keys that would be particularly appropriate for introducing students to the algal groups and genera.
If you are an instructor for a course dealing with the algae, we would greatly appreciate it if you would kindly fill out the attached survey. Feel free to pass this information along to any colleagues you think may be able to help. Please contact Anne Lizarralde ( if you have any questions. We thank you in advance for your time, and greatly appreciate your help.
Follow the link below to complete the survey. After you have finished, click the "submit" button.
If the "submit" button disappears, your survey has been sent.
We also invite you to explore the genera web pages and movies that will be linked to the key,
and the SilicaSecchiDisk website exhibiting the research efforts of the Freshwater Ecology Lab.

Complete the Survey

Explore the Genera Pages

Explore the SilicaSecchiDisk