Skeletonema marinoi Sarno et Zingone is a planktonic marine diatom with a widespread geographic distribution. Different populations of this species may show distinct genetic signatures. We have evaluated the utility of three common molecular methods for distinguishing clones of S. marinoi from different geographic regions. Clonal cultures were isolated from the Canadian west coast, south west Portugal, and the east and west coasts of Sweden. All strains originated from resting stages in sediment. More than 90% of the individually isolated chains grew to densities suitable for DNA extraction. Genetic signatures of clones from each sample location were assessed by sequencing variable domains (D1–D3) of the nuclear large subunit (LSU) rRNA gene and internal transcriber spacer (ITS) (ITS-1, 5.8S and ITS-2) regions, and also by analysis of randomly amplified polymorphic DNA patterns. Analysis of molecular variance showed that strains from the four geographic areas were significantly separated by all three methods but that differences among European samples were best resolved by ITS 2 sequences.