In early 1979, a retrieval was made for all phytoplankton data contained in the computerized data file of the U. S. Geological Survey. The retrieval revealed the analytical results of 17,959 samples collected and processed between October 1973 and October 1978. Of the approximately 500 genera of freshwater algae reported in the United States, the U.S. Geological Survey observed 321 genera in the phytoplankton. Fifty-two genera were considered to be commonly occurring and 42 genera were considered to be community dominants. The report lists, describes, and provides a detailed taxonomic key to the identification of 58 genera of algae considered either commonly occurring or dominant. Also included is a summary of environmental conditions under which each algal genus was observed, as well as a glossary and an extensive list of selected references.