Lecture – The Mysterious World of Plankton

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Lecture – The Mysterious World of Plankton

Sunday, April 14, 2024
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
*To keep this series accessible to all, regardless of the ability to pay, there is no set charge for the event; however, donations are always welcomed and appreciated.

Join us for the Future of Oceans lecture “The Mysterious World of Plankton: Cascading Migrations in a Fertile Fjord”.

Dr. Stephen Bollens and Dr. Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens will be presenting.

The Salish Sea is well known for its iconic species, such as orca whales, sea lions and salmon. However, there is another group of fascinating and diverse organisms in the Sea that are less well known, yet critical to the function of this aquatic ecosystem: the plankton.

Planktonic organisms exhibit a wide range of complex behaviors – chief among these are the feeding interactions among and between zooplankton and phytoplankton taxa that define the pelagic (water column) food web.

The natural history of Dabob Bay will provide the backdrop for exploring a local case study of a particularly fascinating phenomenon – that of coupled cascading vertical migrations in a fertile fjord.


Dr. Stephen Bollens is currently Professor, School of the Environment; Director of the Meyer’s Point Environmental Field Station; and Co-Director of the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory at Washington State University (WSU). Steve grew up in Key West, Florida,  attended Oberlin College (BA Biology) and the University of Washington (MS and PhD degrees in Oceanography). He has held research and faculty positions at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, San Francisco State University, University of Washington, Max Planck Institute for Limnology in Germany, University of Otago in New Zealand, University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia, and Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. He also is currently the WSU Faculty Representative to the State Legislature. His research is broadly concerned with biological oceanography and aquatic ecology, and spans the sub-disciplines of behavior, population biology, community ecology and ecosystem dynamics. His research often has an applied aspect to it, including such areas as conservation biology, restoration ecology, fisheries oceanography, global change and invasive species.

Dr. Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens is an Associate Professor in the School of the Environment at Washington State University (WSU). Dr. Rollwagen-Bollens co-directs the Aquatic Ecology Lab at WSU Vancouver, and is also the Director of the SW Washington “Regional Alliance for Inclusive Science Education” (RAISE). She graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Biology. Dr. Rollwagen-Bollens next spent 8 years as an Assistant Scientist and Science Program Coordinator at Sea Education Association (SEA) based in Woods Hole, MA. She eventually received a MS in Biological Oceanography from the University of Hawaii, and a PhD in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Rollwagen-Bollens’s current research is focused on understanding the dynamics of harmful algal blooms in lakes, rivers and estuaries, as well as investigating how engaging undergraduates and high school students in discovery research may improve students’ motivation and ability to succeed in science degree programs and careers.

To keep this series accessible to all, regardless of the ability to pay, there is no set charge for the event; however, donations are always welcomed and appreciated.

Our lecture series, The Future of Oceans, draws on the commitment of professional researchers and educators across all academic spectrums to help define and inspire the health of our oceans.

To see the full lecture series for 2023-2024, visit our Lectures page.

Thanks to the Darrow Family for their ongoing support.


Fort Worden Chapel

  • The chapel is on the left as you enter the Fort.
  • Parking is on the right, across from the chapel.
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