sharing our knowledge.
Photographic gallery.  Thousands of particles under the microscope.
Diatom, Gomphonema Under the Microscope

Diatom, Gomphonema

This is from a mat of dead Cladophora algae removed from the Columbia River in northern Washington State. The Cladophora can be seen in the background.

Transmitted Phase Contrast Illumination


Gomphonema is a form of algae that can produce a undesirable slime in water. It is also used as an indicator of industrial wastes and sewage in water (see ALGAE AND WATER POLLUTION by the US Environmental Protection Agency). A description of Gomphonema is given in THE FRESHWATER ALGAE by G. W. Prescott in the "HOW TO KNOW" series.

Significance in the Environment:

Its presence in a fresh water stream or river can indicate industial or sewage pollution.

Characteristic Features:

Gomphonema is transversely unsymmetrical. There is a bulb at each end with an enlarged midregion. The striae are relatively coarse.

Associated Particles:


Prescott, G. W., HOW TO KNOW THE FRESHWATER ALGAE, Wm. C. Brown Company, p. 308, 1970

U.S. EPA, ALGAE AND WATER POLLUTION, EPA-600/9-77-036, p. 43, Plate II, 1977.

Vinyard, William C., DIATOMS OF NORTH AMERICA, Mad River Press, Inc., p.62, 1979. (ISBN 0-916-422-15-1)

Round, F.E., R. M. Crawford, D.G. Mann, THE DIATOMS:BIOLOGY & MORPHOLOGY OF THE GENERA, Cambridge University Press, pp. 148-9, 1990. (ISBN 978-0-521-71469-3)

Stoermer, Eugene F. and John P. Smol (eds), THE DIATOMS:APPLICATIONS FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND EARTH SCIENCES, Cambridge University Press, 2001 (ISBN 0521004128)