New diatom species identified

A newly discovered species of diatom, a microscopic creature that is key to the health of the planet, is named after a Lancaster professor.

Professor Philip Barker has dedicated much of his working life to the study of diatoms, exploring what these microscopic phytoplankton can tell us about climate change and water quality.

Now his efforts have have been rewarded, with a recently identified diatom species being called Afrocymbella barkeri in his honour.

Afrocymbella barkeri was identified by Belgian taxonomists Christine Cocquyt and Els Ryken in Lake Challa, a 92-metre deep crater lake at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro on the border of Kenya and Tanzania. Phil has spent many years there doing research into long term climate change.

The paper identifying the diatom states that: “The name barkeri is in honour of Prof. Philip A. Barker (Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, United Kingdom), a diatomist with a long-term research interest in the palaeolimnology of East Africa’s lakes, including Lake Challa.”

Phil may have published more than 100 peer reviewed papers and chapters, and had many accolades for his research, but having a diatom named after him is something special. “!f something is named after you, then it is there for ever,” he said. Source: New diatom species identified

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