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Exploring the dazzling diversity of
microscopic life in the sea

Jan Rines, Ph.D.
Oceanography School of the University of Rhode Island

Wednesday, May 1, 2002
3:00 p.m.–Pacific Forum

There are over 400 described species of Chaetoceros and Bacteriastrum.
This one is Chaetoceros debilis. It is common in temperate, coastal seas.

Almost everyone has looked through binoculars or a telescope, but have you explored the microscopic universe in a drop of water? Come meet the countless strange plants and animals and otherworldly creatures that inhabit the sea on a microscopic scale. This incredible diversity helps maintain healthy marine ecosystems, which in turn supports commercial fishing, recreation, and tourism.

University of Rhode Island oceanographer, Jan Rines, is a leading authority on the identification and description of different species of marine phytoplankton. Her research allows scientists to catalogue the biodiversity of planktonic life in the sea, much like the census takers who study the human population. Her work, funded by the Office of Naval Research, considers how microscopic plants are distributed throughout the ocean. Her photographs of phytoplankton have been displayed in the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. This lecture incorporates colorful slides and video of a world that will fascinate and dazzle the viewer.

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