A new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that identifies critical marine life relies on work done by UC Irvine undergraduates, according to lead author Adam Martiny, a UC Irvine associate professor of Earth system science. The students’ analysis helped an international consortium of scientists determine that the world’s oceans contain an octillion (that’s 27 zeroes) cyanobacteria. This blue-green algae is a primary food source for other life, and its current and future ranges are expected to be important markers of climate change. José Gallegos, Rodolfo Gordillo and José Rincón played major roles. “These three co-author undergrads were doing research for several years in my lab and were extremely dedicated,” Martiny said. “They really did an outstanding job.” The students were supported by the California Alliance for Minority Participation, UC Irvine’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and NASA.