While much popular discussion of changes to aquatic ecosystems has focused on the fate of large animals (including whales, dolphins, and polar bears), the oceans’ smallest inhabitants are perhaps more important to the overall viability of their watery ecosystems.
These organisms, called plankton, form the bottom layers of aquatic food chains, providing nourishment to the larger and larger animals that feed the animals whose loss is visible and easily recognizable to those outside the scientific community.
In my work as a Research Assistant in the field of Marine Science, I have had the opportunity to analyze the roles played by both phytoplankton (which are part of the plant kingdom) and zooplankton (part of the animal family).
To promote general knowledge about the importance of plankton for overall oceanic health, I contributed to the development and production of an educational booklet about radiolarians, a type of microscopic phytoplankton.
About Renate Bernstein
After a brief career as a Registered Nurse, Renate Bernstein returned to school to prepare for her career in Marine Science. She attended the University of South Florida, earning a B.A. in Mathematics in 1980, an M.S. in Marine Science in 1985, and a Ph.D. in Marine Science in 2000. Renate Bernstein has participated in several research expeditions around the world.