Natalia Llopis Monferrer is a postdoctoral fellow at the Carbon Flux Ecology Lab at MBARI. She received her PhD in Chemical Oceanography at the “Université de Bretagne Occidentale” (France). Natalia is a motivated biogeochemist with a passion for understanding how plankton influences the cycling of certain elements in our oceans, working to improve our knowledge of ocean biogeochemical cycles. Her research focuses on the ecology of silicifying Rhizaria, which are eukaryotic, mostly heterotrophic single-celled organisms, globally distributed, dwelling chiefly in the open ocean, from the surface down to bathypelagic depths. The goal of her postdoctoral project at MBARI is to characterize the silicification process in Rhizaria by combining different techniques: (i) exploration of genomic data to characterize the SITs of Rhizaria at different environmental conditions, (ii) targeted collection and maintenance of these delicate protists using cutting-edge technologies (e.g., remote operated vehicles, microfluidics) and, (iii) state-of-the-art imaging techniques, based on optical, fluorescent and electron microscopy, to examine silica deposition at a cellular level. This project will shed light on the little-known ecology of individual Rhizaria, and their ultimate role in relation to diatoms in the global plankton ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles.