Café Sci: 2020 Virtual Series

Bigelow Laboratory's Café Sci is a fun, free way for you to engage with ocean researchers on critical issues and groundbreaking science. Our 2020 series of summer talks ended in August.

The series was held virtually this year and again made possible through sponsorship by HM Payson You can watch recordings of all the season's events below.

We hope you'll join us for our next series of live Café Sci conversations about the mysteries, challenges, and opportunities of the sea. Details will be posted to this page when they become available.

2020 Café Sci Videos

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Our Ocean, Our Health:

Water Quality and its Influence on Our Lives

Led by Dr. Deborah Bronk

The coastal ocean gives humanity everything from food to fun, feeding our collective soul. The health of the Earth’s oceans and its human population are intimately linked. Bigelow Laboratory researchers work to understand how the ocean works and protect this precious resource, using the natural laboratory of the Gulf of Maine to study changes that are impacting the entire ocean. Join Dr. Deborah Bronk as she shares some of the vital insights these findings lend to Maine’s efforts to protect its environment and economy.

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Distant But Connected:

A Journey to Discover How Antarctic Algae Shape Northern Oceans

Led by Dr. Barney Balch

Though it may feel remote from our everyday lives, the vast Southern Ocean influences the Northern Hemisphere through a powerful ocean system – and through the tiny algae that thrive within it. Dr. Barney Balch’s team recently returned from a cruise in the Southern Ocean, where they followed this ocean system for 39 days, studying how algae altered the water before its long journey north. Join Dr. Balch to learn how a type of ubiquitous algae may be changing the water in which it lives – and even reshaping the oceans of the Northern Hemisphere.

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Deep Sea Frontiers:

What Happens as Humanity Seizes the Seafloor?

Led by Dr. Beth Orcutt

Will your next cell phone or solar panel contain heavy metals from the seafloor? Could strange life in the deep sea contain the genetic blueprint for a new blockbuster drug or industrial enzyme? Join Dr. Beth Orcutt for an introduction to the vast and diverse underbelly of life on Earth found deep in our oceans. Learn how this life benefits humanity, and how it could be impacted by increasing human exploitation of materials in the deep sea.


A Tale of Two Gulfs:

The Return and the Future of Maine’s Kelp Forests

Led by Dr. Douglas Rasher

Kelp forests form the foundation of temperate ocean habitats around the world, and they have defined the coast of Maine for millennia. A century of industrial fishing has rearranged food webs in the Gulf of Maine’s kelp forests, triggering abrupt changes in this dynamic ecosystem. Dr. Doug Rasher’s team recently conducted the first comprehensive survey of Maine’s kelp forests in nearly 15 years. Join him to learn how they have evolved, and what their future may hold in a changing ocean.

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A Story in Each Drop:

How DNA Can Provide New Vignettes of Our Oceans

Led by Dr. Dave Emerson

The molecule DNA unifies all life on the planet. A single drop of seawater can contain DNA traces from a multitude of ocean life, from microbes to marine mammals. Several Bigelow Laboratory researchers are helping to lead a Maine-wide effort to develop cutting-edge, DNA-based tools, with the aim of advancing our ability to monitor life in coastal waters. Dr. Dave Emerson will describe how this interdisciplinary team is working to develop these powerful approaches that can empower people to manage our precious ocean resources.

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Burp Busters:

A Greener Cattle Industry Through the Power of Algae

Led by Dr. Nichole Price

Cattle are one of the largest human-caused sources of the potent greenhouse gas methane – but ocean algae may be able to help solve this climate problem. Many Maine seaweeds are rich in nutrients, and feeding them to cattle could improve their health and even the quality of the soil where they pasture. Join Dr. Nichole Price to learn how a new feed product could bolster Maine’s burgeoning seaweed aquaculture industry, remediate the ocean, recycle important nutrients, and empower the dairy industry to improve the health of their animals and the planet.

Videos from Past Seasons