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Jordan Meriwether Capstone


Hello, my name is Jordan Prince Meriwether. I am a senior student at Science Leadership Academy and eventually hope to move into a career involving Environmental Science. My final school year was full of new responsibilities and work, but the biggest project was the Capstone. Throughout this school year we were given the major task of creating a project that both reflects ourselves and the core Values of SLA, them being inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation, and reflection. My personal interests, as stated, revolved around the environment, but I needed to get more particular. Before this project, I was an intern for the Fairmount Water Works and developed an interest in water quality, so I decided to focus on that over the course of this project. I had also partnered myself with the Water Works throughout this project and they would consistently be by my side ready to help me comprehend information, while supplying me with the tools I needed. Currently a pH kit is the best you’ll get when it comes to determining water quality, the problem is they are too subjective making them unreliable. Therefore, I believed the best way was to understand water quality is to look at the organisms that live in it, if they can not survive in their own environment what makes you think you can survive ingesting it? So my project was based on the variance between diatoms across multiple varied pH environments. I would take samples and see how they compared.

My project:


  • Busch, David E.. “The Patchiness of Diatom Distribution in a Desert Stream”. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 14.2 (1979): 43–46. Web.


This states a specific instance where the diatoms were used in a project. The scientists look for a correlation between diatoms and the patchiness of a lake in a desert. The idea is perhaps the microorganisms grow under certain circumstances. Personally, I feel this site is the most advanced in terms of vocabulary and outside references. I do not know a lot of the information involved in this project mainly due to it talking about other microorganisms, but still much of it is still understandable. Overall, this paper is harder, but it does still reference a few known pieces of information and even some interesting new information.

  • Crangle, Robert D., Jr. "Diatomite Statistics and Information." USGS Minerals Information: Diatomite. U.S. Geological Survey, 2 Feb. 2016. Web. 04 Feb. 2016.<>


This site gives a brief overview on the stone Diatomite, which is a stone made up of the dead remains of diatoms. They go over the structure and texture of it. I used the site for information of what diatomite is used for. It has been used for filtering, padding, and many other applications. The reason this site was chosen is do the the simple information given, it makes sure to given only the essentials. Which is all I need. If it went too in depth I would get lost in the information. Overall, this site gives a good explanation for diatomite.

  • Conger, Paul S.. “Diatoms”. The Scientific Monthly 73.5 (1951): 315–323. Web.


This paper is quite detailed in its analysis of how diatoms work.While appearing to be long, it actually is easy to understand and goes deeper into themes seen on other sites. It goes over the abundance of these creature, explaining how they are built to survive everywhere. They even touch on some of the darker aspects to diatoms, their ability to kill fish and over produce in water are both discussed. Even other theories are brought up throughout the paper giving more insight into the world of diatoms. Overall, the site adds so much to the my already vast information. Giving deeper insight than ever before.

  • DeColibus, D. "Tabellaria flocculosa." In Diatoms of the United States. 2013. Web. 16 May. 2016, from <>


Maria Potapova sent me to this site when I was studying the different types of diatoms I found in my samples. This type of diatoms was found in the sample and nd through the site I was able to learn more about the creature and how it works in its environment. The formation of these creatures may vary as you see them while some to look normal in their straight line formation some hold more of a disconnected square appearance.

  • Gross, Michael. "Diatom Evolution a Mystery." CEH Diatom Evolution a Mystery Comments. Master Plan Association, 11 Aug. 2012. Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <>


This site details the work of Michael Gross, who has studied the mysterious world of diatom evolution. The man state that they might have developed from endosymbionts, but even so how they grew into what they currently are is unknown. Their distribution is easier to explain though, do to their ability develop in any where there is water and sunlight they could spread quite easy. From their he also explains different advantages of their silica shells, most of which have to do with their internal organs. The site basically states that though their are so many of these creature little is known about them or where they came from. Still though they have a powerful effect on our ecosystem and everything around it.

  • Harvey, Anne. Personal discussion. 3 February, 2016.


Anne Harvey is one of researchers at the Fairmount Water Works, as well as has been my mentor during the duration of this project. She has lead me to meet multiple outside sources as well has given me her personal information. Without her I would not know what a diatom is, let alone complete this project. Her outside resources also allowed me to be able to be able to connected with many knowledgeable and helpful individuals. She is a source mainly do to her help with finding and helping me understand many points of information throughout this project. She was pinical to the completion of this project.

  • Hines, Sandra. "Tiny Diatom Has Global Environmental Impact." UW Today. University of Washington, 7 Oct. 2014. Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <>


This site speaks on the overall effects diatoms can have on the rest of the world. It details how they can do so much even though they are so small. They have a strong impact the carbon cycle in on the world. As well they control the the production of nitrogen as well. Their effects are imperative to the progression of most gases throughout the world. This site really gets into how important these creatures are to our environment. They even touch on genetics, implying that these creature vary greatly in how the aspects that they have. Intern, not only can this site be used for showing their impact of gases in the air, it also shows genetic changes for these diatoms.

  • Mikkelsen, Naja. “Silica Dissolution and Overgrowth of Fossil Diatoms”. Micropaleontology 23.2 (1977): 223–226. Web


This site has a focus on the silica of diatoms, primarily how they change. They note both how the shell can grow out or break down. They also go further and discuss the environments around them, mainly the salt and fresh water. They state how as the shells dissolve almost completely in the ocean and either turn to rocks on the ocean floor or dissolve into water. The most interesting part, structurally speaking, is how they left many references, I could use them for more sources if necessary. Overall, I think this source is very informative on the topic of silica, I will be able to go more indepth than anywhere else.

  • Potapova, M. "Achnanthidium minutissimum." In Diatoms of the United States. 2009. Web. 19 May. 2016. <>


This was a site recommended to me by a Maria Potapova who was helping me to identify diatoms. We noticed a solid amount of these creatures clustered around algae and debris in the water. Looking over the site I had leader about how these creatures are build much differently than the average diatom being smaller in length. This site allows me understand how this organism both effects the environment and they are effected by the world around them.

  • Spaulding, Sarah A. "What Are Diatoms?" Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2016. <>


This site details the basic world of diatoms. Intern they are able to give great insight on how the world works in general.  They explain basic structure, environment, classification, and even physiology of diatoms and how they work as microorganisms. They do not just limit themselves to organism’s functions; they also go into the history about their changes throughout life.  From their vegetative division to them dying and leaving behind their shells this site has it all. Finally, this has greater pictures of varying diatoms. Overall, this site gives good general information to compare to others I find for validity.

  • Stevenson, R. Jan et al.. “Development of Diatom Indicators of Ecological Conditions for Streams of the Western US”. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 27.4 (2008): 1000–1016. Web.


When I first read this paper I believed that it was a simple overview once again, but I found that the it held a very strong effect from showing the applications of diatoms. Many of the past and present uses for diatoms can be seen in this paper and it is really well made. It can also be connected to other sites in its explanation of how the environment is affected by diatoms. Overall, I will use this site to explain the different implications and applications diatoms have on the world, as well, I will connect it to the rest of the other site on the environment.

  • Simons, Paul. "Cool Aid Aquatic Test." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 5 Feb. 2003. Web. 4 Feb. 2016. <>


This site once again overviews diatoms, but it goes mildly deeper than the previous sites. They go over their effects, uses and even evolution; the difference seems to be they focus on their shells. They go into detail how the main point of the shell’s glass appearance is to let in more photosynthetic light, as well this adaption, while not entirely unique, shows very specific qualities through their species. Overall, the reason I had chosen this site is its ability to convey information about a particular aspect of diatoms, but still show more widely varied aspects of these little creature.

  • Weckström, Jan, Atte Korhola, and Tom Blom. "Diatoms as Quantitative Indicators of PH and Water Temperature in Subarctic Fennoscandian Lakes." Rctic Fennoscandian Lakes. Springer International Publishing AG, Mar. 1997. Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <>


This details a paper written by a few scientist on the idea of how diatoms affecting pH. This is kind of the exact opposite of what my project is, given I wanted to find how pH affects diatoms. To see the exact opposite make me question which one actually affects the other. I personally have seen change in my diatoms, intern I question how they know this experiment is valid. Other than that, I do see potential in its explanation on how diatoms change the pH. Overall, I can see a lot of interesting questions coming out of reading that and explaining it to fellow skeptics.