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Sarah A. Spaulding, PhD


Sarah is an aquatic ecologist, with a focus of expertise in algae, including diatoms and harmful algae.

Sarah's research interests cover the application of taxonomy, paleoecology, and biogeography to environmental assessment. Most recently, Sarah worked on regional river surveys, using diatoms, eDNA, and algal metrics to assess the impacts of a variety of stresses on freshwater organisms. For several years, Sarah has managed the USGS BioData Algal Taxonomy section, keeping algal nomenclature up to date and in accordance with the International Code of Algae, Fungi, and Plants (INA). She is passionate about sharing algal taxonomy and ecology with scientists, students, and the public. Sarah currently serves as the Chair of the Editorial Review Board for the collaborative (USGS, EPA & University of Colorado), electronic, peer-reviewed flora, Diatoms of North America (

Sarah's published research covers a wide range of topics including atmospheric deposition of nitrogen, aquatic invasive species, environmental DNA sequencing, harmful algal blooms, paleolimnology, automated identification of organisms, development of new assessment methods, and modeling algal species response.

*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government