Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences’ mission is to undertake and sustain excellence in fundamental research into the ecosystems of the world’s ocean and thereby comprehend their relevance to a changing world; to promote the education and enlightenment of ocean science to society at all ages; and to directly contribute to the sustainability of research, enterprise, and knowledge exchange, both locally and nationally. Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences seeks to understand key processes driving ocean ecosystems, their evolution, and their fundamental relationship to life on Earth through interrelated programs in research, education, and technology transfer. Its focus ranges from microbial oceanography to the large-scale dynamics of the global ocean.
Research at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is organized around three core themes of Blue Biotechnology, Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate Change, and Ocean Health. The Laboratory's 60,000 square-foot, shore-based campus is located in East Boothbay, Maine, on the Damariscotta River estuary. In December 2012, the campus became the first LEED Platinum certified laboratory in Maine and one of seven in the New England area. The Laboratory was recently rated one of the top 10 places to work in Maine.
"Nothing in the sea falls haphazard; if we cannot predict, it is because we do not know the cause, or how the cause works..." Henry Bryant Bigelow, 1929.
Named for Henry Bryant Bigelow, a visionary scientist and pioneer of modern oceanography, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences was founded in 1974 as a private, non-profit research institution. Henry Bigelow's approach to oceanography stressed the interdependence of the biological, chemical and physical sciences. This perspective has served as a cornerstone of our programs throughout our history.
The majority of the Laboratory's funding comes from federal and state grants and contracts, licenses and contracts with the private sector, and philanthropic support. Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences supports the work of over 70 scientists and staff. The Laboratory also maintains a library open to the public both in East Boothbay and at McKown Point in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, in collaboration with the Maine Department of Marine Resources.
The Laboratory’s primary research focus is on the microbial life and biogeochemical dynamics of the world’s ocean, advancing society’s understanding of the interactions between ocean ecosystems, global processes, and the environment. The Laboratory’s education programs include undergraduate training through a semester program offered in affiliation with Colby College, and a National Science Foundation-funded summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. The Laboratory is also the home to several service facilities, including the Provasoli-Guillard National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA), the Single Cell Genomics Center (SCGC), and the J.J. MacIsaac Facility for Aquatic Cytometry.
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences’ strength lies in the expertise and dedication of our senior research scientists, science and administrative staff, and the support of our Board of Trustees and Trustees' Advisory Board, donors, and friends.