Connecticut College News
Professor wins award for book on photosynthesizing algae12/10/2013
Peter Siver, the Becker Professor of Botany at Connecticut College, at work in his lab.
Peter Siver, the Becker Professor of Botany at Connecticut College, has won the 2013 Gerald Prescott Award from the Phycological Society of America (PSA) for his book "Diatoms of North America: The Freshwater Flora of Waterbodies on the Atlantic Coastal Plain," coauthored with Paul Hamilton of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.
The Prescott Award is given to recognize scholarly work in English in the form of a published book or monograph devoted to phycology (the study of algae). The award includes a $2,000 prize.
"Diatoms of North America: The Freshwater Flora of Waterbodies on the Atlantic Coastal Plain” is part of a series about diatoms - or photosynthesizing algae - in North America. It includes a large catalog of the microorganisms that Siver and his team found in Carolina Bays, shallow crater-like depressions scattered along the Atlantic coast. They were the first to study the diatom flora in those areas. The book also includes 2,331 photographs of diatoms, all of which were taken in Connecticut College labs.
The work was recognized by the PSA for its scholarship and utility to the phycological community. In announcing the award, the selection committee said the work was "charged with interesting and useful data, arranged in a very accessible way" and that it met a very specific need for more syntheses of morphological and ecological data for this group of diatoms.
Siver specializes in the study of chrysophytes and diatoms found in freshwater ecosystems. His work with these photosynthetic microorganisms is helping scientists understand the impacts of environmental stressors, evolution and climate change.