URI Trip to Antarctica Yields Microscopic Finds

Jun 20, 2013

A professor at the University of Rhode Island just flew back from Antarctica with scientific cargo. Phytoplankton, will be used to study the plant’s resiliency to climate change.

Several different species of phytoplankton being studied the the URI Graduate School of Oceanography.
Credit Caitlyn Lawrence / URI GSO

Phytoplankton is microscopic plants that float in water near the surface of the Ocean. And a URI professor just hand-delivered fresh samples of the phytoplankton taken from the Southern Ocean to URI. Associate Professor of Oceanography, Tatiana Rynearson, said the samples will help scientists understand the different types of phytoplankton in the ocean.

“We’re comparing the genetic bar-code of the samples we collected to the genetic bar code of similar or even the same species that we might find, for example, here in Narragansett Bay," said Rynearson

Rynearson says learning more about phytoplankton will help researchers better understand its resiliency to a warming ocean. A second trip is planned to get more samples this summer. It’s being funded by the National Science Foundation.

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