--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE--
September 21, 2010
Contact: Tatiana Brailovskaya, Director of Communications, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences; (207) 633-9633; cell: (207) 441-0650; firstname.lastname@example.org
BIGELOW LABORATORY RECEIVES OVER $4.9 MILLION FROM THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION TO BUILD THE OCEAN BIOGEOCHEMISTRY AND CLIMATE CHANGE CENTER
WEST BOOTHBAY HARBOR, ME –The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences $4,975,000 toward construction of the Center for Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate Change (COBCC) on the Laboratory’s new Ocean Science and Education Campus in East Boothbay, Maine. The funding is part of the federal economic stimulus program of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (Public Law 111-5) passed by Congress in 2009. The center will replace the Laboratory’s existing biogeochemistry and ocean observing facilities, which are currently housed in a scattered assortment of state-owned, leased buildings in West Boothbay Harbor.
The COBCC will provide over 7,000 square feet of unified, energy efficient laboratory space for gas chromatography; organic, nutrient, and trace metal analyses; cell culturing and microscopy, radioisotope experiments; optics experiments and glider commissioning; and processing of remotely sensed data. Overall, the COBCC will total more than 16,000 gross square feet of laboratory, office, and meeting space.
The focus of COBCC research is on the role of plankton in the relationship between the world’s oceans and climate change.
“The processes that dominate the ocean’s living communities drive oceanic biogeochemical cycles and have enormous influence of global climate,” said Executive Director Dr. Graham Shimmield. “COBCC research encompasses ocean observing, air-sea interactions, ocean biogeochemistry, cellular biogeochemistry, and land-sea interactions to study plankton ecology and biogeochemistry responses to global climate change.”
“Understanding how the ocean responds to changing climate is critical to our nation and all of human society,” said David Coit, Chair of Bigelow Laboratory’s Board of Trustees. “The NSF award is a tremendous step, both for the Laboratory, and for the economic health of the region.”
The Center for Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate Change (highlighted) on Bigelow Laboratory’s Ocean Science and Education Campus in East Boothbay, Maine.
The COBCC will be one of three complementary and interconnected research centers on the campus, along with the Bigelow Center for Blue Biotechnology (BCBB) and a planned Center for Ocean Health (COH). In addition to the three science centers, the campus will eventually grow to include an administrative wing with a public auditorium, education facilities, and housing for students and visiting scientists.
Training of post-doctoral researchers mentored by senior researchers is a major component of the Laboratory’s research activities. The Laboratory estimates that the COBCC will result in a doubling of the recent five-fold increase in its postdoctoral training program, and strengthen its portfolio of workshops, courses, and internships. The Laboratory has just completed its second year as a national site for the NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates Program, which brings students from across the country to the Laboratory for ten weeks each summer to work with senior scientist mentors to conduct independent research projects.
On July 23, 2010 the Laboratory formally signed a strategic partnership agreement with Colby College, formalizing a relationship that will include research collaboration, teaching opportunities for Bigelow scientists, and the development of an ocean science semester and internship opportunities for Colby students.
“A unified COBCC will dramatically improve our ability to attract, mentor, and train students from diverse regions and backgrounds and increase retention of highly trained young people in the State of Maine,” Shimmield said.
The Laboratory received a $4.45 million award to construct the Bigelow Center for Blue Biotechnology, the first building on the Laboratory’s 64-acre waterfront campus, from the Maine Technology Asset Fund in June 2009, catalyzing plans for the new campus. Groundbreaking for the BCBB took place on September 7, 2010. More than two hundred people joined U.S. Senator Susan Collins for that ceremony.
When fully completed, the campus will provide over 70,000 square feet of laboratory, education, and administrative space, replacing the Laboratory’s current leased facilities in West Boothbay Harbor. Sixteen of the 64 acres of the property will be developed to environmentally sustainable, LEED Gold Standard; the rest will be preserved as wildlife habitat, wetlands, and open space, including over a mile of public walking trails. The Town of Boothbay Planning Board granted full approval of the site master plan for the campus by unanimous vote on June 16, 2010.
An internationally known global ocean research center since 1974, research at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences ranges from microbial oceanography to large-scale biogeochemical processes that drive interactions between ocean ecosystems and global environmental conditions. This work has taken Bigelow scientists around the world to every ocean and the polar seas. ####