Nina was born in 1933 in Leningrad in a family of prominent biologists and in 1956 graduated from the Leningrad State University with BS/MS degree. By that time, she already participated in expeditions to the Northern Ural Mountains where she collected materials for her MS thesis titled “Study of the Upper Cretaceous and Paleogene diatom flora of the Arctic Ural and Western Siberia”. As an employee of the Petroleum Prospecting Institute (1956-71) she continued studying fossil Siberian diatoms and participated in several geological surveys. These small groups of people were traveling on rafts and on foot and occasionally on the horseback for several hundreds of kilometers without any means of communicating with outside world for 2-4 months in harsh weather and unknown terrain, carrying with them a heavy cargo of geological specimens. If you happen to come across Nina’s Siberian diatom samples in a museum, just imagine all the hard work behind these specimens.

After a short stint at the Komarov Botanical Institute, defense of the PhD thesis, and many more expeditions to various regions of Siberia, Sakhalin and Kuril Islands, Mountains of Central Asia and a 3-month cruise on a research vessel in the Northern Pacific, in 1971 Nina settled at the Botany Department of the Leningrad/St. Petersburg State University where she spent the rest of her career. She was an amazing teacher, infectious with her enthusiasm for science and diatoms, nurturing generations of undergraduate and graduate students and launching careers of many phycologists. She loved teaching summer field courses at the White Sea research station where students and professors were immersed in the stunningly beautiful world of a northern sea with its clear waters, underwater kelp forests, and archipelagoes of tiny rocky islands. She was teaching us how identify algae and lichens, how to cook on the campfire and how to work as a team.

Nina Strelnikova published about 100 research papers, two books on Cretaceous and Paleogene diatoms as a single author and a series of monographs “Diatoms of Russia and Adjacent Countries. Fossil and Recent” as a co-author. She organized numerous conferences and workshops in the USSR and then Russia and was a participant of many international diatom meetings. Although she described 82 new diatom taxa in addition to establishing 109 new combinations, she was very humble about her contributions to science. She would tell that “it is just too easy to describe new taxa if you work with fossil diatoms as almost any new sample contains one or several new species”. The respect that our diatom community held for her is nevertheless reflected in 21 diatom genera and species named in her honor.

Hers was a good-lived life filled with exciting discoveries, travels and happiness despite the childhood shattered by the war and personal tragedies later in life. She was blessed with good health and only became frail and retired from the University about 3 years ago. Her mind was still clear and sharp until the last breath. The last time we spoke on the phone about a month ago she was happy to chat about books she was reading, diatom research and recent events in the World. That was just a few days before her whole household contracted Covid to which she finally succumbed on December 7.

She will be fondly remembered by many colleagues, friends and former students. Rest in peace, dear Teacher.