/ Small Things Considered: How Phytoplankton Make Life Possible

Small Things Considered: How Phytoplankton Make Life Possible

February 24, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:15 pm

Small Things Considered:
How Phytoplankton Make Life Possible


Thursday, February 24, 2022, 6-7:15 PM PST

Online Webinar

FREE with a suggested donation or membership


Preregister here


Without phytoplankton, single-celled organisms that live in the water, life as we know it would not exist. Join our speakers to explore the histories of these fascinating organisms that cause beautiful, blue luminescent oceans or deadly red tides. Learn about the current state of phytoplankton in Monterey Bay and around the globe. Understand how climate change is affecting these microorganisms that are critical to all life on Earth.



Raphael Kudela
Professor of Ocean Sciences
UC Santa Cruz


Raphael (Raphe) Kudela has conducted aquatic ecology research for more than two decades. His research focuses on the factors and processes linking phytoplankton productivity to events occurring up the food chain, such as harmful algal blooms that affect crab fisheries. His work spans marine systems, the land–sea interface, and freshwater systems and encompasses mitigation and prediction of harmful algal bloom events, changes in global productivity and fisheries, and linkages to human use of aquatic systems. Kudela has served as chair of the Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) program and as vice chair of GlobalHAB, he is an ex-officio member and former co-chair of the US National HAB Committee, and he serves on the executive committee for the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS).


Allison Cusick
Ph.D. Candidate, Biological Oceanography
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego


Allison Cusick is a polar phytoplankton ecologist. Her research in Maria Vernet’s laboratory at Scripps looks at how melting glaciers might be influencing phytoplankton communities in coastal fjords along the Antarctic Peninsula. She aims to understand how phytoplankton responds to a changing world, looking through both an ecosystem-wide and a genetic lens. Allison obtains her samples and data through the NASA-funded citizen-science program FjordPhyto which she co-founded in 2016 with her advisor and polar guides to partner with tour ship operators in Antarctica. Allison received a dual Masters degree in Marine Biology (2021) and Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (2017) from Scripps Oceanography and earned her BS in Biology (2006) at the University of Washington. Through her Woman Scientist blog and social media platforms, she inspires others to pursue careers in STEM fields that get them outdoors.


Steve Mandel
Executive Director, OceansMicro


Steve Mandel is a long-time participant in scientific research, science education, and wildlife conservation. His efforts have covered a wide range of scientific activity including co-authorship of academic papers in the Astrophysics Journal and Sky and Telescope Magazine and founding of the Lions of Gir Foundation dedicated to the conservation of Asiatic lions in India. An award-winning wildlife photographer, Steve has work juried for public display at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and appearing in publications such as Smithsonian Books and the New York Times. He is the designer of an underwater, 3D virtual reality camera system used by Nat Geo and by his Oceans360 program to bring compelling virtual-reality video to students and the public. As executive director of the nonprofit OceansMicro, he provides marine microbiology programs to the public and to high school and middle school students.


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