Dr Rowena Stern, PhD

CPR Research Fellow

Rowena Stern


I am a molecular ecologist, investigating long-term changes in phytoplankton and planktonic microbes, especially harmful algae and Vibrio bacteria that impact marine animals and humans. After completing my degree in Genetics with biotechnology placement in industry, I studied cattle parasites at the University of Glasgow. After two short postdoctoral positions studying molecular aspects of human diseases, I developed a passion for evolution and biodiversity of phytoplankton during a postdoctoral project DNA barcoding dinoflagellates and other algae at the University of British Columbia, Canada. I have continued to study plankton at the CPR survey since 2010. I apply molecular tools to a diverse range of organisms to understand how environmental drivers shape planktonic communities. Using molecular tools that can identify species that cannot be detected with the microscope. Applying this to the longest and extensive plankton archive from the CPR survey dating back to 1960, these provide unique insights into changes in key species at oceanic and relevant scales for better predictions on climate change impacts on marine organisms. I am also involved in science advisory capacity leading the development of indicators for tiny plankton with DEFRA and chair and member of the ICES Working Group for Phytoplankton and Microbial Ecology.