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Marina Potapova

Marina Potapova, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science
Assistant Curator, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Office: Diatom Herbarium, Academy of Natural Sciences
Phone: 215.405.5068

Additional Sites:

Personal Site, Diatom Herbarium Group


  • MS, Botany, University of St. Petersburg, Russia, 1984
  • PhD, Ecology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 1993

Research Interests:

My research is on the taxonomy, ecology and biogeography of diatoms. I am using light and scanning electron microscopy, geometric morphometric shape analysis, molecular methods and ecological modeling techniques to study diatom communities of various geographical areas, to understand how environmental change affects their structure and function, to reveal biogeographical patterns of diatoms, and to reconstruct the phylogeny of monoraphid diatoms.


Marina Potapova is currently an assistant curator of the Diatom Herbarium of the Academy of Natural Sciences. Before coming to the Academy in 1999, she worked at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden, and University of St. Petersburg, Russia. She has published more than 40 papers in peer reviewed scientific journals, is a council member of the International Diatom Society and an associate editor of two international journals, Phycologia and Diatom Research. Potapova’s research is focused on biogeographical and ecological patterns of freshwater diatoms, applications of shape analysis to diatom taxonomy, and systematics of monoraphid diatoms. She is as a member of Editorial Board and one the contributors to the on-line diatom flora of the United States, a collaborative project aimed at compiling a comprehensive illustrated guide to diatom species. Other projects include a detailed study of diatoms in the North Central Pennsylvania, diatoms of Beringia (Northeastern Asia and Alaska), and ecological synthesis of river diatom data for the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Analysis Program. Potapova is also leading a project supported by the National Science Foundation and aimed at computerizing and making available online the vast resources of the ANSP Diatom Herbarium, which is one of the largest diatom collections in the World.

Selected Publications:

  • Potapova, M. 2012. New species and combinations in monoraphid diatoms (family Achnanthidiaceae) from North America. Diatom Research 27: 29-42.
  • English, J.D. and Potapova, M. 2012. Ontogenetic and interspecific valve shape variation in the Pinnatae group of the genus Surirella and the description of S. lacrimula sp. nov. Diatom Research 27: 9-27.
  • Potapova, M. 2011. Patterns of Diatom Distribution In Relation to Salinity. Pages 313-332 in: Seckbach, J and J.P. Kociolek (Eds.) The Diatom World. Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology (COLE) Book Series, V.19, Springer, Dordrecht.
  • Potapova, M. and Carlisle D.M. 2011. Development and application of indices to assess the condition of benthic algal communities in U.S. streams and rivers. U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2011-1126.
  • Spaulding, S.A., Lubinski, D.J. and Potapova, M. 2010. Diatoms of the United States. (web publication).
  • Potapova, M. & Snoeijs, P. 1997. The natural life cycle in wild populations of Diatoma moniliformis (Bacillariophyceae) and its disruption in an aberrant environment. Journal of Phycology. V.33: 924-937.