July 6, 2011
Contact: Tatiana Brailovskaya, Director of Communications, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, (207) 633-9633; email@example.com
WEST BOOTHBAY HARBOR, ME – Bigelow Laboratory Senior Research Scientist Dr. Ben Twining will lead a Café Scientifique discussion at 6 p.m. on July 19 about the use of advanced technology in understanding the role of trace metals in the world’s oceans. “Don’t Kill the Messenger” is the fourth of ten Bigelow Laboratory summer science conversations, held every Tuesday evening from 6 to 7 p.m. through August 30 in the Boothbay Harbor Opera House, 86 Townsend Avenue in Boothbay Harbor.
Twining is a Senior Research Scientist in the Bigelow Trace Metal Biogeochemistry Laboratory. His research examines the interactions between microorganisms and trace metals in the ocean, investigating how the presence of metals in seawater affects phytoplankton growth.
“The ocean’s phytoplankton are the foundation of the marine food web and play a key role in the global carbon cycle,” Twining says. “Rising levels of carbon dioxide are having a major effect on ocean chemistry and changing the way trace metals cycle through the marine environment, which will impact plankton communities throughout the world’s ocean.”
By combining field sampling with advanced technological tools, Twining has made the first direct measurements of trace metal nutrients in cells from major oceanic regions including the equatorial Pacific, the Sargasso Sea and the Southern Ocean. He uses a powerful new microscopy technique -- known as X-ray fluorescence – to create two and three-dimensional maps of the way elements are distributed inside individual cells.
Twining has a Ph.D. in Coastal Oceanography from Stony Brook University, and a A.B. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard University. His most recent research expedition was a five-week transect of the South Atlantic in early 2011, as a member of the scientific team aboard the R/V Melville.
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences conducts research ranging from microbial oceanography -- examining the biology in the world’s oceans at the molecular level -- to the large-scale ocean processes that affect global environmental conditions. Recognized as a leader in Maine’s emerging innovation economy, the Laboratory is spurring significant economic growth in the state through construction of a major Ocean Science and Education Campus in East Boothbay. Café Scientifique talks are free and open to the public, with beer, wine, and sodas available for purchase. The complete 2011 summer Café Scientifique program is posted on the Laboratory’s website (www.bigelow.org). ####
Photo: Internal organization of the diatom C. meneghiniana. Courtesy of Ben Twining.