Tiny Giants exhibit in Portland in March


The invisible world of marine microbes will be revealed through a photographic art exhibit that unveils the intricate details of microscopic creatures that are vital to our very existence. They produce half of the oxygen we breathe, are the basis of food for the entire marine food web from fish to whales, and are helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Tiny Giants: Marine microbes revealed on a grand scale is a photographic art exhibit that will take place on January 15 at District Hall in Boston, Massachusetts. The exhibit features photographs taken by Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science scientists at three scales that reveal the exquisite, intricate beauty of marine microbes. Participants in the evening event will also have the opportunity to learn about the important contributions of marine microbes via presentations by Dr. Graham Shimmield, Executive Director of Bigelow Laboratory, and Dr. Nigella Hillgarth, President and CEO of the New England Aquarium. Visitors will also have the opportunity to share a glass of wine and a meal with scientists from Bigelow Laboratory and the New England Aquarium, all of whom share a passion and commitment to protect all ocean inhabitants, large and small.

Event details follow: January 15, 2015 6:30 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. District Hall 75 Northern Avenue Boston, Massachusetts Tickets: $50 Includes exhibit, wine, appetizers, and dinner. All tickets have been sold. To be placed on a waiting list should tickets become available, click [140]here or call Dana Wilson at 207-315-2567 ext 112 or [141]dwilson@bigelow.org.

New England Aquarium logo .jpg w20-logo.jpg Scientists who will be participating in Tiny Giants

Dr. Graham Shimmield is executive director of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. His particular interest is in marine geochemistry, which includes identifying indicators of ocean and climate change, and examining human impacts and contamination in coastal and deep seas. His work has taken him to all oceans of the world, from atolls in the Pacific impacted by El Nino, to the polar regions and the consequences of melting sea ice, to studies of offshore oil installations and their decommissioning.

Dr. Nigella Hillgarth joined the New England Aquarium as President and CEO in 2014. Prior to that, she held leadership positions at both the Birch Aquarium in San Diego and the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City. While at Birch, part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, she spearheaded the renovation of exhibit halls and developed regular changing exhibits including the award-winning "Feeling the Heat: The Climate Challenge." She also served as the assistant director for outreach in oceanography at Scripps, working to ensure that the institution's mission and research were effectively communicated to the world. Dr. Hillgarth is also a highly regarded zoologist and has conducted research on penguins and other birds. Her field work has brought her to the Arctic, Antarctica, Argentina, the Amazon, the Galapagos, Peru, India and Thailand.

Dr. Pete Countway, a microbial ecologist at Bigelow Laboratory, has contributed images to the Tiny Giants collection. His research is broad-based. He uses molecular and genomic approaches to advance what is known about marine microbes -- their diversity, ecology, and physiology. By better understanding marine microbes' role in the global ocean, we can better predict how and if they might respond to ongoing global changes.

Dr. David Emerson is an expert on iron-oxidizing bacteria. As a Senior Research Scientist at Bigelow Laboratory, he studies them in environments as varied as undersea volcanoes, saltmarshes, and freshwater wetlands. He is looking at questions such as the potential for these organisms to exist on other planets, to learning how they extract energy from iron, to analyzing their influence on other biogeochemical cycles that affect greenhouse gas emissions. Some practical implications of this work is determining the beneficial potential of these microbes for removing pollutants from groundwater, and mitigating their nuisance potential as agents of biofouling and corrosion in water distribution systems.

Dr. Kathleen Hunt of the New England Aquarium studies the causes and consequences of stress in marine wildlife. Her research focuses on development of new tools for studying stress hormones, in order to assess how animals are affected by human-caused stressors such as shipping noise, military sonar and climate change. Dr. Hunt has recently developed stress hormone assays for respiratory vapor, baleen, and feces collected from a variety of large whale species, including North Atlantic right whales, bowhead whales, humpback whales, sperm whales, and Blainville's beaked whales. Additional projects focus on stress physiology and metabolic responses of sea turtles in response to cold-stunning, entanglement and transportation.

Dr. Scott D. Kraus is Vice President for Research at the New England Aquarium. Dr. Kraus has been a research scientist in the Aquarium's Research Laboratory since 1980, and has published over 95 papers on marine mammals, bluefin tuna, harbor porpoise, fisheries, and bycatch. Dr. Kraus' recent work has involved identifying and testing methods for reducing the impacts of fishing, shipping, and offshore energy development on cetaceans and the marine environment. He is also working on the nighttime behavior and visual capabilities of whales, as well as studies assessing the population consequences of a variety of disturbances to marine mammals.

Dr. John Mandelman is the Director of Research and a Senior Scientist at the New England Aquarium. Broadly, his research focuses on the lethal and sublethal effects of human disturbances on vulnerable and/or commercially important marine fishes, particularly sharks, stingrays and skates. Much of his present work examines the physiological effects and survival of fish discarded as bycatch in commercial and recreational fisheries, with the ultimate goal to provide data that informs fisheries management and conservation measures.

Bigelow Laboratory Senior Research Scientist Dr. Paty Matrai is an expert on atmospheric and ocean conditions in the Arctic Ocean. Dr. Matrai focuses on this vulnerable ecosystem and looks at how the ocean surface and lower atmosphere interact--important information for understanding climate change. She studies the biological production and consumption of organic sulfur and halogenated compounds using a suite of advanced analytical tools that include autonomous buoys and gas chromatographs. In fact, she pioneered long-term automated, autonomous, on-ice sampling of atmospheric chemistry in the Arctic Ocean, collecting significant data, which has been made available to colleagues around the globe.

Dr. Nichole Price studies how global changes such as ocean acidification and warming are altering the interactions of bottom-dwelling marine species, their communities, and overall how these changes are affecting ecosystem function. As a Senior Research Scientist at Bigelow Laboratory, her work focuses on seaweeds that attach to the marine floor off the Maine coast, creating crucial nursery habitat and food resources for fish and lobsters. Dr. Price studies the effects of increasing carbon dioxide on these vital seaweeds. What she is discovering is that carbon dioxide is having a positive effect on the large, edible seaweed ecosystem "architects" in the Gulf of Maine and she is exploring whether commercial production of seaweeds might be used to moderate ocean acidification locally.

Dr. Randi Rotjan's research addresses the interface between ecology, symbiosis, and behavior to ultimately determine how organisms interact with their environments. Although she works on a wide variety of model organisms, Dr. Rotjan most often works on ecosystem engineers, which are organisms that have a disproportionate influence on their habitat (such as reef-building corals). She uses an integrative approach, combining exploratory observations with manipulative experiments to discover the patterns and uncover the mechanisms guiding ecosystem engineer performance. In addition, Dr. Rotjan also studies hermit crab shell choice behavior, the conservation ecology of tropical reef communities, trophic dynamics and corallivory, and the evolution and ecology of symbiosis in marine invertebrates.

Dr. Benjamin Twining is a Senior Research Scientist and Director of Education and Research at Bigelow Laboratory. He studies the interactions between metals and planktonic organisms in marine and aquatic environments. How phytoplankton take up metals from the environment and where in the cells they are incorporated are just some of the questions that Dr. Twining's research seeks to address. This knowledge is helping to reveal how phytoplankton keep the ocean water - and subsequently the planet - in balance.News Sidebar