Friday March 22,  2 – 3 p.m.

Join us each month as plant science and conservation efforts are presented by San Diego Botanic Garden’s staff, research associates, colleagues, and guest speakers. This month we will feature Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego Biological Oceanographer and PhD Candidate Allison Cusick, co-founder of FjordPhyto – a polar citizen science social innovation enterprise that enhances tourist engagement in polar science and connects travelers to the importance of phytoplankton research on the Antarctic Peninsula. Allison will talk to us about “The Big Story of Little Life: How we owe our lives to phytoplankton in the ocean” Phytoplankton are two Greek words for phyto – plant and plankton – drifter. These single celled plant-like organisms drifting in the ocean first developed the ability to photosynthesize when cyanobacteria figured out how to split water to make energy 3.4 billion years ago. Over hundreds of millions of years, in a fight to adapt, survive, and outcompete, eukaryotic cells engulfed other cells  through secondary endosymbiosis, to give rise to red algae and green algae, accumulating accessory light harvesting pigments to maximize photosynthesis in a watery world, and eventually giving way to all plants on land. This presentation will describe Allison’s journey to better understand how melting glaciers in Antarctica influence the diversity of these crucial organisms and how travelers to Antarctica help collect samples every year through the FjordPhyto citizen science program.


Cost: Free with Garden admission

Class format: In-person, indoors

Please register by March 21 (walk-ins welcome, space permitting)