Ocean on Tap Speaker Series in Boothbay Harbor Continues


Ocean on Tap, a new informal, ocean-centric speaker series has its second installment tonight, March 21, at 6 p.m. at Footbridge Brewery in Boothbay Harbor. Dr. Sarah Douglas, a postdoctoral scientist at Bigelow Laboratory will be discussing the “Pacific Plastic Wilderness,” a chance to learn about the surprising diversity of life in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Future events in the series are scheduled for April 18 and May 9, also 6-7 p.m. at Footbridge Brewery, 25 Granary Way.

Ocean on Tap is organized by researchers from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. The goal of the event is to bring people together around the fascinating world of the ocean. At these events, which are open to the public, speakers share their expertise in ocean science, and attendees are encouraged to ask questions.

“Science talks can be fun and entertaining, and the casual setting of Footbridge is conducive to breaking down the “ivory tower” of academia,” said tonight’s speaker, Sarah Douglas. “I’m particularly excited to talk about something that’s a little different from my day-to-day work that I know people in the community may find surprising.”

The series kicked off last month with a conversation on “Mini Marine Monsters” led by Dr. Reyn Yoshioka, also a postdoctoral scientist at Bigelow Laboratory. Yoshioka presented on the intriguing — sometimes creepy — world of marine pathogens.

“A lot of us work on esoteric topics, so it’s good to find opportunities to share our science in a way that’s relevant and meaningful to a broader audience,” Yoshioka said. “Our experience last month was also just a lot of fun. We were so pleased by the audience’s enthusiasm, and we look forward to continuing these gatherings in the coming months.”

Next month’s talk is scheduled for April 18. Dr. Yasmina Shah Esmaeili, a postdoctoral scientist, and Shane Farrell, a University of Maine PhD student, will be presenting on the specialized tools they use for scientific scuba surveys to monitor critical kelp forest habitats here in Maine.

On May 9, Kerry Dykens and Kristin Heidenreich, two curators with the National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota at Bigelow Laboratory, will be diving into the vibrant world of marine algae. They’ll be discussing the incredible diversity of algae and highlight some of the most interesting species in the NCMA collection.

“One of our goals is to increase the accessibility of ocean science, and I hope people learn something that sparks their interest and maybe even inspires them,” said Alaina Weinheimer, a postdoctoral fellow and one of the organizers of Ocean on Tap. “This is also a chance to bring together those of us on the peninsula year-round and create new spaces for community building.”