Author: Linda VanAller Hernick
Most Wonderful in the Smallest is an engaging account of the author’s year-long observations of freshwater micro-communities in rural Upstate New York. Written in the form of a journal, entries describe encounters with many of the protists, tiny metazoans, and bacteria comprising micro-communities that surround us all.
Microorganisms comprise two-thirds of life on Earth and yet few of us are aware of their existence. Or, if we are aware of them, they have usually been presented to us as either pathogens or mere curiosities designed to illustrate the use of microscopes. In fact, microorganisms are essential to all ecosystems, and they are an integral component of Earth’s biodiversity.
Most Wonderful in the Smallest strives to acquaint the reader with common freshwater microorganisms and to reveal both their beauty and their complexity. It will be of interest to natural historians, conservationists, teachers, and those who might like to go forth and make some microscopic observations of their own.
Published May 2017; 5” wide x 8” high; softcover, perfect bound, xii+146 pages of coated paper, 119 color photographs; 978-1-935778-37-0.
I was born in Albany but grew up in the beautiful and historic Schoharie Valley of New York state. I received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of St. Rose and graduated from the Albany School of Cytotechnology (now a part of Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences). For sixteen years I worked in commercial cytopathology laboratories microscopically screening cell samples for cancer and cancer precursors. However, a fascination with paleontology ultimately led me to a career at the New York State Museum where I first microscopically examined disaggregated rock samples for Cambrian-age microfossils and, later, turned to paleobotany. In collaboration with colleagues from the NYSM, Binghamton University, and Cardiff University I helped make significant contributions to Devonian paleobotany through new discoveries pertaining to Earth’s oldest forests at Gilboa, New York. Much of this research was published in the journal Nature.
After retiring from the NYSM in 2014 I have been able to focus time and attention on light microscopy, my hobby of many years. In particular, I study the protists and micro-metazoans of freshwater environments. Most Wonderful in the Smallest came about as a result of realizing that there is very little literature available concerning freshwater microorganisms for the general public.
I live in Rensselaerville, New York, with my husband.
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