Café Sci

Sea Life: From a New Perspective at our Cafe Sci Series

Bigelow Laboratory's Café Sci is a fun, free way for you to engage with ocean researchers on critical issues and groundbreaking science, made possible through sponsorship by HM Payson.

Our 2021 series is over, but recordings are available here and on our YouTube channel.

Our 2022 Cafe Sci series will be held on Tuesdays, July 12 to August 16, from 5-6:30 p.m. More information about the series will be added to this page when it becomes available.

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Creativity from Chaos:

Advancing Bold Science During a Year of Global Disruption

By Dr. Deborah Bronk

Great science is like great art: it thrives during periods of disruption. The circumstances that take us out of our comfort zone make us think a little differently, which is a recipe for powerful creativity. Come learn about the many ways that Bigelow Laboratory made the most of these uncertain times to advance our work to understand our changing climate, cultivate algal innovations, and support Maine’s working waterfront and growing biotech ecosystem.

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Beyond Blue:

A Study of Ocean Color from Above and Below

By Dr. Catherine Mitchell

Phytoplankton may be microscopic, but in large enough numbers they can be seen from space. Satellites can capture patches of green and turquoise, hundreds of miles across, that are made up of millions of these tiny creatures. These instruments give us a broad view of oceans on a global scale, but to interpret the images they give us, we need to use data collected here on Earth. Join Dr. Catherine Mitchell for a journey through ocean color and how integrating observations from satellites, the field, and in the lab gives researchers a powerful picture of the ocean that is more than the sum of its parts.

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Lobsters in a Pinch:

Impacts of Warming Oceans on Epizootic Shell Disease

By Dr. Maya Groner

We each have a suite of bacteria that live in, and on, us. These microbiomes have increasingly gained public attention as scientists have quantified their critical role in human health. Some microbes are helpful, and some are harmful. However, when out of balance, there is a larger risk for negative effects. Microbiomes are not just a human issue, either. They influence the health of marine species, including lobster. Join Dr. Maya Groner as she explores how warming seawater temperature impacts the molt cycle, the shell microbiome, and the survival of North America's most iconic crustacean.

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Persistent Plastics:

Using Familiar Tools in New Ways to Explore the Impact of Microplastics

By Dr. Nicole Poulton

While scientists do not yet understand the full impact of microplastics, researchers know they pose a significant threat to ecosystems. These long-lived pollutants make their way through food webs and into the digestive systems of animals and the people that eat them. However, studying microplastics with traditional nets and filters is currently arduous and prone to errors. Learn from Dr. Nicole Poulton about how applying techniques used to study plankton, cells, and other tiny particles could open new doors of discovery into understanding microplastics.

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The Life of Ice:

The Global Influence of Microbes in Polar Regions

By Dr. Alex Michaud

Iconic images of crumbling glaciers, thin sea ice, and desperate polar bears flood our news and social media feeds. However, the microbial life that typically evades the camera lens is just as vulnerable. Despite their importance to the changing polar regions, we are just now learning the complexities of the unique relationship between ice and microbes. Join Dr. Alex Michaud for a journey from pole to pole to witness how ice loss is rearranging polar habitats and what this means for the unique relationship between microbial life and ice.

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Water Health & Humans:

A New Initiative to Protect Maine's Most Valuable Resources

By Dr. Rachel Sipler

The Gulf of Maine is one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world, and one of the most rapidly changing. Maine waters are experiencing dramatic increases in temperature, acidification, harmful algal blooms, and persistent contaminants that threaten farming, tourism, and our quality of life. The Water Health and Humans Initiative is a new program to help identify issues impacting our waters and support economic growth. Hear from Director Dr. Rachel Sipler about how the group aims to promote healthy water conditions while working with, learning from, and providing insights to the fishermen, farmers, resource managers and residents who need them most.