Freshwater algae are among the most diverse and ubiquitous organisms on earth. They occupy an enormous range of ecological conditions from lakes and rivers to acidic peat swamps, inland saline lakes, snow and ice, damp soils, wetlands, desert soils, wastewater treatment plants, and are symbionts in and on many plants, fungi, and animals. In North America, the variety of freshwater habitats colonized by algae is very rich, and offers an enormous and fascinating range of environments for their study. They form the base of most aquatic food webs and are critical to studies of ecosystem health. Algal ecologists and taxonomists play an important role in the understanding of aquatic ecosystems: their biodiversity, productivity, interactions with other organisms, and water quality. This book provides in one volume a practical and comprehensive guide to the genera of freshwater algae known from North America. The format combines the necessary ecological, taxonomic and methodological information for all scientists working in aquatic environments, whether their specialty is in environmental monitoring and water quality assessment, biological composition, ecology, evolution, or molecular biology.