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
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