Members holdings

The BCCM/DCG public collection is a small but dedicated collection currently containing about 500 diatom strains belonging to 43 species, and is the only culture collection worldwide specialized in diatoms, the most species-rich and ecologically important algal group. All strains are publicly available for the scientific community and are distributed as research or reference material to scientific institutions and companies, under the conditions specified by the BCCM Material Transfer Agreement. Long-term preservation of diatom cultures is ensured by cryopreservation or in liquid culture, in which case strains gradually decrease in cell size and the life cycle has to be manipulated to establish new strains with the maximal cell size. The BCCM/DCG public collection is hosted by the Laboratory for Protistology & Aquatic Ecology (Gent University, Belgium), internationally renowned for its research on diatom taxonomy, evolution, ecology and life cycles, for which routinely diatom cultures are established and experimentally manipulated. The interaction between the host laboratory and the culture collection offers a large added value to the collection as it ensures a detailed characterization of the strains and the necessary expertise for long-term storage of diatom strains and species. This has resulted in a unique collection of model diatoms for both fundamental and applied research.

Services offered

  • Deposit of strains for public access
  • Safe deposit
  • Distribution of strains


The host laboratory makes intensive use of the diatom strains in the culture collection for its research projects, and contributes to the collection by depositing well-characterized strains interesting for future research and applications. The following research topics are addressed using a range of different approaches, including morphology, DNA sequences, transcriptome and genome studies, ecophysiological studies, crossing experiments, pedigree analyses,... :

  • Population genetics
  • Speciation and (cryptic) species diversity
  • Niche divergence and evolution
  • Competition and facilitation
  • Molecular basis of the diatom life cycle
  • Species screening and growth optimization for aquaculture

Quality Management System

Accession, control, preservation, storage and supply of diatoms and related information in the frame of public deposits are ISO 9001:2008 certified