Plankton represent the foundation of the marine food chain. As such, their vitality determines the health of the ocean ecosystems in general. For this reason, there is much concern and interest in the impact of climate change and environmental pollution on the global ocean. Dr Chris Bowler studies the genetic effects of environmental changes on ancient diatoms in an effort to predict the ability of today's plankton to adapt to anticipated stress caused by climate change. To analyze the evolutionary record he gathers plankton fossils from deep ocean deposits around the world.