Mark Edlund | Science Museum of Minnesota

Mark Edlund
Mark Edlund

Dr. Mark Edlund, Senior Scientist

Ph.D., University of Michigan (Natural Resources and Environment), 1998
M.S., University of Michigan (Natural Resources), 1992
B.S., University of Minnesota (Biochemistry/Botany), 1987

Phone: (651) 433-5953 ext. 26

Academic Appointments

Adjunct Faculty Appointments 
Biology Faculty, National University of Mongolia 
Water Resources Science, University of Minnesota

Assistant Professor (Visiting)
Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, Iowa State University, Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms

Research Interests 

Dr. Mark EdlundMy research interests have developed around aquatic biology and algae, especially the diatoms. Diatoms are microscopic algae characterized by their ornate cell walls made of opaline silica, or biologically produced glass. I use diatoms to pursue these research and teaching areas:

Historical environmental change-paleolimnology

Because diatoms are made of glass, they accumulate in the bottom of lakes, providing researchers clues to conditions in a lake system in earlier times. We use diatom subfossils to measure change in historical diatom communities, lake productivity, and nutrient levels in response to climate, landuse changes, and management practices. Current projects include:

  • Resurrection Ecology – This NSF-funded project examines how organisms adapt to environmental change. The zooplankton Daphnia produces a resting structures called ephippia that have been shown to survive for decades to centuries in lake sediments. Sediment cores are being collected from two Minnesota lakes with contrasting environmental histories—Hill Lake in Aitkin Co. and South Center Lake in Chisago Co.—and biogeochemical records in the cores are being studied to reconstruct historical environmental changes. Ephippia are being isolated and hatched to test how Daphnia have responded physiologically and genetically to environmental drivers.
  • Wisconsin Lakes – Polk County, Wisconsin, boasts over 400 lakes that are prized for their beauty and recreational opportunities. However, many of the lakes suffer from impaired water quality, algal blooms, and non-native species. We are using sediment cores to determine pre-disturbance condition, develop a timeline of historical impairment, and set attainable management goals for several lakes (Polk County Land and Water
  • Metro Lakes – The Twin Cities metro area has an abundance of lakes that are focal points for recreation, development, and water management. Working in collaboration with various watershed districts and counties, we examine sediment cores from lakes to determine the history and extent of ecological change. These data are used to direct mitigation efforts, develop nutrient management plans (TMDL), and examine the effect of management strategies. Current lakes that we're working on include Dean Lake (Scott Co) and Rice Marsh Lake (Chanhassen); recently completed projects include Spring Lake and Arctic Lake (Prior Lake).

Biomonitoring and biodiversity of aquatic resources

Our current biomonitoring research is directed at lakes and aquatic resources in the National Parks of the Upper Midwest. We recently finished a project is exploring the ecology of splash pools at three Lake Superior parks – a seasonal inventory of water quality and biology (diatoms, zooplankton, insects, amphibians) – to determine vulnerability of shoreline resources. Another project has developed a novel technique to use repeat sampling of sediments from NPS lakes to determine extent and trajectory of ecological change.

Diatoms of the United States – Edlund serves on the Editorial Board for the web-based resource, "Diatoms of the United States," a singular source of taxonomic information on diatom diversity in the US .

Ecological change in large lakes

Laurentian Great Lakes – The Great Lakes are undergoing unprecedented change in response to introduced species and climate change. We are working to understand dramatic food web shifts in Lake Michigan, including the disappearance of the benthic invertebrate Diporeia, using a two pronged approach that investigates food resource shifts preserved in sediment cores coupled with gut content analysis of historicalDiporeia collections. Other Great Lakes work investigates the recently modified pathway by which botulism outbreaks have returned to the shores of Lake Michigan.

Lake of the Woods – Situated on the border of Minnesota and Canada, Lake of the Woods is experiencing greater frequency and extent of blue-green algae blooms despite documented reductions in phosphorus loading since the 1970s. We are using analysis of multiple sediment cores from throughout the southern basin to reconstruct a historical phosphorus budget for the lake in collaboration with researchers with the MPCA, University of Minnesota-Duluth, and Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Biodiversity and ecological change in ancient lakes and landscapes

We've been working in Mongolia since 1996 and recently completed a survey of the diatom flora of western Mongolia's Valley of the Great Lakes. This landscape is dominated by two large saline lakes (Uvs and Khyargus Nuur) and many smaller lakes that range from fresh to hypersaline. Results that show recent eutrophication of lakes from interactions of grazing and climate drivers are fueling our next proposal. Other ancient lakes that we've worked on include Eocene kimberlite deposits in Canada, Mongolia's Lake Hövsgöl, Russia's Lake Baikal, Macedonia's Lake Ohrid, and Quebec's Pingualuit Crater Lake.

Life history strategies

Conservative estimates set the number of living diatom species at about 25,000, but knowledge of sexuality and life histories is known for only approximately 300 species. This shortfall provides a modern challenge to further a rich scientific history on algal sexuality. My work in this field has centered on description and cytology of sexuality and dormancy strategies. Our new publication presents a standardized terminology for the structures and stages present during the sexual and resting stages of the diatom life history (Kaczmarska et al. 2013)

TEACHING: Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms

Since 1963, the summer field course, "Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms," has been taught at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory near Spirit Lake, Iowa. I've been teaching this class since 2003 with Dr. Sarah Spaulding (UColo) and Dr. Marina Potapova (ANSP). Each year ten students plus visiting researchers from across the US and around the world gather for the only four-week course taught in North America focused specifically on diatoms. Learn more

Representative Publications

Lee, S.S., Gaiser, E.E., Van de Vijver, B., Edlund, M.B. and Spaulding, S.A. 2014. Morphology and lectotypification of Mastogloia smithii and M. lacustris with descriptions of two new species from the Florida Everglades and the Caribbean region. Diatom Research DOI: 10.1080/0269249X.2014.889038

Atazadeh, I., Edlund, M.B., Van de Vijver, B. Mills, K., Spaulding, S.A., Gell, P.A., Crawford, S., Barton, A.F., Lee, S. S., Smith, K.E.L., Newall, P. and Potapova, M. 2014. Morphology, ecology and biogeography of Stauroneis pachycephala P.T. Cleve (Bacillariophyta) and its transfer to the genus Envekadea. Diatom Research DOI: 10.1080/0269249X.2014.927006

Umbanhowar, C.E. Jr., Camill, P., Edlund, M.B., Geiss, C., W. Durham, D. Kreger, W. Molano, C. Raskob, M. Stocker, A. Tvera, J. Williams and B. Brodaric. 2013. Contrasting changes in surface waters and barrens over the past 60 years for a subarctic forest-tundra site located in northern Manitoba based on remote sensing imagery. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 50(9): 967-977.

Julius, M.L. and Edlund, M.B. (Editors). 2013. Proceedings of the 21st International Diatom SymposiumPhytotaxa 127(1): 210 pp.

Edlund, M.B. and Stoermer, E.F. 2013. Minnesota diatomists: The first 150 years. Phytotaxa 127(1): 10-21 (special issue Proceedings of the 21st International Diatom Symposium).

Kheiri, S., Nejadsattari, T., Asri, Y., Hamdi, S.M.M., Spaulding, S. and Edlund, M. 2013. Cyclotella iranica sp. nov. (Bacillariophyta; Coscinodiscophyceae), a new diatom from the Karaj River, Iran. Phytotaxa 104(1): 35-42.

Benson, C.J., Edlund, M.B., Gray, S., Powell, L., Paulin-Curlee, G., Armien, A., Overmann, J.A. 2013. The presence of diatom algae in a tracheal wash from a German Wirehaired Pointer with aspiration pneumonia. Veterinary Clinical Pathology 42(2): 221-226.

Shinneman, A.L.C., Umbanhowar, C.E., Jr., Edlund, M.B. and Soninkhishig, N. 2010. Late Holocene moisture balance inferred from diatoms and lake sediment records in western Mongolia. The Holocene 20: 123-138.

Shinneman, A.L.C., Umbanhowar, C.E., Jr., Almendinger, J.E., Edlund, M.B. and Soninkhishig, N. 2009. Paleolimnologic evidence for recent eutrophication in the Valley of the Great Lakes (Mongolia). Ecosystems 12: 944-960. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-009-9269-x

Kaczmarska, I., Poulíčková, A., Sato, S., Edlund, M.B., Idei, M., Watanabe, T. and Mann, D.G. 2013. Proposals for a terminology for diatom sexual reproduction, auxospores and resting stages. Diatom Research 28: 263-294.

Pavlov, A., Levkov, Z., Williams, D.M. and Edlund, M.B. 2013. Observations onHippodonta from selected ancient lakes. Phytotaxa 90: 1-53.

Reavie, E.D. and Edlund, M.B. 2013. Assessing diatom transfer function performance on four Minnesota sediment cores: the effects of training set size and sample age. Journal of Paleolimnology 50(1): 87-104, DOI: 10.1007/s10933-013-9706-x

Camill, P., Umbanhowar, C.E. Jr., Geiss, C., Hobbs, W.O., Edlund, M.B., Shinneman, A.C., Dorale, J.A. and Lynch, J. 2012. Holocene climate change and landscape development from a low-Arctic tundra lake in the western Hudson Bay region of Manitoba, Canada. Journal of Paleolimnology 48: 175-192, DOI 10.1007/s10933-012-9619-0

Hobbs, W.O., Ramstack Hobbs, J.M., Lafrancois, T., Zimmer, K.D., Theissen, K.M.,Edlund, M.B., Michelutti, N., Butler, M.G., Hanson, M.A., and Carlson, T.J. 2012. A 200-year perspective on alternative stable state theory and lake management from a biomanipulated shallow lake. Ecological Applications 22:1483–1496.

Black, J.L., Edlund, M.B., Hausmann, S., Pienitz, R. 2012. Small freshwater thalassiosiroid diatoms from Pleistocene sediments of Pingualuit Crater Lake, northern Québec (Canada) including description of Cyclotella pingaluitii sp. nov. Diatom Research 27(1): 53-63, DOI:10.1080/0269249X.2012.654825

Siver, P.A., Wolfe, A.P. and Edlund, M.B. 2010. Taxonomic descriptions and evolutionary implications of Middle Eocene pennate diatoms representing the extant genera Oxyneis, Actinella and Nupela (Bacillariophyceae). Plant Ecology and Evolution 143(3): 349-351, doi: 10.591/plecevo.2010.419

Edlund, M.B., Shinneman, A.L.C., Soninkhishig, N. 2010. Diatoms (Bacillariophyceae) from the Valley of the Great Lakes in western Mongolia. Mongolian Journal of Biological Sciences 8(1): 17-26.

Spaulding, S. and Edlund, M.B. (Guest Editors). 2010. "A special volume honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Charles W. Reimer", Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 160: 126 pp.

Edlund, M.B. and Brant, L.A. 2010. Eunotia charliereimeri, a new Eunotia species (Bacillariophyceae) with amphoroid frustule symmetry. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 160: 47-56.

Morales, E.A., Edlund, M.B. and Spaulding, S.A. 2010. Description and ultrastructure of araphid diatom species (Bacillariophyceae) morphologically similar to Pseudostaurosira elliptica (Schumann) Edlund et al. Phycological Research 58: 97-107.

Bischoff, J., Ramstack, J., Strom, J., Madejczyk, J., Edlund, M., Williamson, J., Shinneman, A.C. 2009. The complexities of developing excess nutrient TMDLs for shallow lakes. In Proceedings of the 2009 TMDL Conference, Water Environment Federation, Alexandria, Virginia, pp 1073-1098.

Shinneman, A.L.C., Umbanhowar, C.E., Jr., Edlund, M.B. and Soninkhishig, N. 2010. Late Holocene moisture balance inferred from diatoms and lake sediment records in western Mongolia. The Holocene 20: 123-138.

Shinneman, A.L.C., Umbanhowar, C.E., Jr., Almendinger, J.E., Edlund, M.B. and Soninkhishig, N. 2009. Paleolimnologic evidence for recent eutrophication in the Valley of the Great Lakes (Mongolia). Ecosystems 12: 944-960. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-009-9269-x

Mackay, A.W., Edlund, M.B. and Khursevich, G. 2010. Diatoms in ancient lakes. In Smol, J.P. and Stoermer, E.F. (Eds) The Diatoms: Applications for the Environmental and Earth Sciences. Cambridge University Press. pp 209-228.

Reavie, E.D. and Edlund, M.B. 2010. Diatoms as indicators of environmental change in rivers, fluvial lakes and impoundments. In Smol, J.P. and Stoermer, E.F. (Eds) The Diatoms: Applications for the Environmental and Earth Sciences. Cambridge University Press. pp 86-97.

Wolfe, A. P., Edlund, M.B., Sweet, A. R. and Creighton, S. D. 2006. A first account of organelle preservation in Eocene nonmarine diatoms: Observations and paleobiological implications. Palaios 21: 298-304.

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

Edlund, M.B., Shinneman, A.L.C., Levkov, Z. 2009. Diatom biodiversity in Mongolia: A new amphoroid diatom from saline lakes in western Mongolia, Amphora soninkhishigaesp. nov. Acta Botanica Croatica 68(2): 251-262.

Edlund, M.B. and Soninkhishig, N. 2009. The Navicula reinhardtii species flock (Bacillariophyceae) in ancient Lake Hövsgöl, Mongolia: description of four taxa. Nova Hedwigia, Beiheft 135: 239-256.

Edlund, M.B., Triplett, L.D., Tomasek, M. and Bartilson, K. 2009. From paleo to policy: partitioning of historical point and nonpoint phosphorus loads to the St. Croix River, Minnesota-Wisconsin, USA. Journal of Paleolimnology 41: 679-689. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-008-9288-1

Triplett, L. D., Engstrom, D.R. and Edlund, M.B. 2009. A whole-basin stratigraphic record of sediment and phosphorus loading to the St. Croix River, USA. Journal of Paleolimnology 41: 659-677. DOI:10.1007/s10933-008-9290-7

Edlund, M.B., Engstrom, D.R., Triplett, L., Lafrancois, B.M. and Leavitt, P.R. 2009. Twentieth-century eutrophication of the St. Croix River (Minnesota-Wisconsin, USA) reconstructed from the sediments of its natural impoundment. Journal of Paleolimnology 41: 641-657. DOI:10.1007/s10933-008-9296-1

Serieyssol, C.A., Edlund, M.B. and Kallemeyn, L.W. 2009. Impacts of settlement, damming, and hydromanagement in two boreal lakes: a comparative paleolimnological study. Journal of Paleolimnology 42: 497-513. DOI:10.1007/s10933-008-9300-9

Shinneman, A.L.C., Edlund, M.B., Almendinger, J.E. and Soninkhishig, N. 2009. Diatoms as indicators of water quality in Western Mongolian lakes: a 54-site calibration set. Journal of Paleolimnology 42: 373-389, DOI:10.1007/s10933-008-9282-7

Soninkhishig, N., Edlund, M.B. & Czarnecki, D.B. 2008. The type, taxonomy and distribution of Anomoeoneis fogedii Reimer. In: Likhoshway, Ye. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 19th International Diatom Symposium. Biopress Ltd, Bristol. pp 83-90.

Smucker, N.J., Edlund, M.B. and Vis, M.L. 2008. The distribution, morphology, and ecology of a non-native species, Thalassiosira lacustris (Bacillariophyceae), from benthic stream habitats in North America. Nova Hedwigia 87: 201-220.

Levkov, Z., Edlund, M.B. & Nakov, T. 2008. Identity and typification of Navicula hasta(Bacillariophyceae). Phycological Research 56: 46-57

Edlund, M.B., Brant, L. A., Levkov, Z. & Nakov, T. 2006. An emended description ofDecussata (Patrick) Lange-Bertalot & Metzeltin that includes protoplast organization and detailed valve and cingulum ultrastructure. Diatom Research 21: 269-280.

Edlund, M.B. 2006. Persistent low diatom plankton diversity within the otherwise highly diverse Lake Baikal ecosystem. In Microalgal Biology, Evolution and Ecology (Crawford, R.M., Moss, B. and Mann, D.G., Eds) Nova Hedwigia Beiheft 130: 339-356.

Edlund, M.B., Levkov, Z., Soninkhishig, N., Krstic, S. and Nakov, T. 2006. Diatom species flocks in large ancient lakes: the Navicula reinhardtii complex from Lakes Hövsgöl (Mongolia) and Prespa (Macedonia). In: Witkowski, A. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 18th International Diatom Symposium. Biopress Ltd., pp 61-74.

Wolfe, A. P., Edlund, M.B., Sweet, A. R. and Creighton, S. D. 2006. A first account of organelle preservation in Eocene nonmarine diatoms: Observations and paleobiological implications. Palaios 21: 298-304.

Edlund, M.B., Soninkhishig, N. and Stoermer, E. F. 2006. The diatom (Bacillariophyta) flora of Lake Hövsgöl National Park, Mongolia. In Goulden, C., Sitnikova, T., Gelhaus, J., and Boldgiv, B. (eds) The Geology, Biodiversity and Ecology of Lake Hövsgöl (Mongolia). Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, pp 145-177.

Edlund, M.B. and Spaulding, S. A. 2006. Initial observations on uniparental auxosporulation in Muelleria (Frenguelli) Frenguelli and Scoliopleura Grunow (Bacillariophyceae). In: Ognjanova-Rumenova, N. and Manoylov, K. (eds.) Fossil and Recent Phycological Studies. Festschrift in honour of Dr. Dobrina Temniskova-Topalova. PENSOFT Publishers, Sofia-Moscow, pp 211-223.

Bixby, R.J., Edlund, M.B. and Stoermer, E.F. 2005. Hannaea superiorensis sp. nov., an endemic diatom from the Laurentian Great Lakes. Diatom Research 20: 227-240.

Wolfe, A. P. and Edlund, M.B. 2005. Taxonomy, phylogeny, and paleoecology ofEoseira wilsonii gen. et sp. nov., a middle Eocene diatom (Bacillariophyceae: Aulacoseiraceae) from lake sediments at Horsefly, British Columbia, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 42: 243-257.

Morales, E. A. and Edlund, M.B. 2003. Studies in selected fragilarioid diatoms (Bacillariophyceae) from Lake Hovsgol, Mongolia. Phycological Research 51(4): 225-239.

Edlund, M.B., Soninkhishig, N., Williams, R. M. and Stoermer, E. F. 2001. Biodiversity of Mongolia: Checklist of diatoms, including new distributional reports of 31 taxa. Nova Hedwigia 72:59-90.

Edlund, M.B. and Stoermer, E. F. 2000. A 200,000-year, high-resolution record of diatom productivity and community makeup from Lake Baikal shows high correspondence to the marine oxygen-isotope record of climate change. Limnology and Oceanography 45: 948-962.

Edlund, M.B., Taylor, C. M., Schelske, C. L. and Stoermer, E. F. 2000. Thalassiosira baltica (Bacillariophyta), a new exotic species in the Great Lakes. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 57:610-615.

Brandriss, M. E., O'Neil, J. R., Edlund, M.B. and Stoermer, E. F. 1998. Oxygen isotope fractionation between diatomaceous silica and water. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 62:1119-1125.

Edlund, M.B. and Stoermer, E. F. 1997. Review: Ecological, evolutionary, and systematic significance of diatom life histories. Journal of Phycology 33:897-918.

Edlund, M.B. 1994. Additions and confirmations to the algal flora of Itasca State Park. II. Diatoms of Chambers Creek. J. Minn. Acad. Sci. 59(1):10-21.

Edlund, M.B. and E. F. Stoermer. 1991. Sexual reproduction in Stephanodiscus niagarae (Bacillariophyta). Journal of Phycology 27:780-793.