Dr. Peter Verity
Skidaway Institute mourns loss of Professor Peter Verity
Plankton play a fundamental role in the cycling of energy and materials in the oceans. Plant plankton (phytoplankton) are the base of the pelagic food webs in the seas and other aquatic systems, and therefore fisheries depend exclusively on their activities. Phytoplankton also produce one-half of global oxygen and also are responsible for one-half of the global plant use of CO2. Animal life (including us!) cannot live without their oxygen contributions, and they are critical in helping to minimize the impact of man's greenhouse gas emissions. The fate of their primary production is determined largely by heterotrophic plankton (zooplankton), both single-celled protozoans and multicellular animals. Dissolved organic matter released from phyto- and zooplankton are processed by bacteria and converted back into particulate matter, forming the basis of a microbial food web. Additionally, nonliving particulate organic matter, or detritus, is constantly being produced (and consumed) by these activities. Our mission is to learn why these organisms and materials occur where and when they do, with the eventual goal of understanding and predicting their occurrence in time and space.