Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Ocean Life, Planet Health

Apr 2011 eNews

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Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
News for April 21, 2011

Bigelow Team at World Congress in China: Ocean, Life, and Sustainability

Dalian, China. Photo courtesy of BITeomics, Inc.

Executive Director Dr. Graham Shimmield, Senior Research Scientist Dr. David McClellan, and Director of Corporate Alliances and Technology Transfer Mark Bloom are traveling to Dalian, China April 25–29, 2011 to take part in the first World Congress on Marine Biotechnology. The conference theme is “Ocean, Life, and Sustainability,” and it features over 200 scientific and technological presentations from scientists, executives, and decision makers on the latest developments in marine biotechnology. Shimmield is delivering a keynote address on “Marine Biotechnology: Applications in a Changing Ocean— Challenges and Opportunities” during the opening ceremony, and presenting a paper at the “Marine Molecular/ Cell Biology and Physiology” program session. McClellan is speaking about the power of metagenomic analysis to reveal the diversity of marine viruses as part of the “R & D in Marine Biotechnology” session, and Bloom is giving a talk about intellectual property and commercialization aspects of algae in the biofuel industry. Bloom is giving a talk about intellectual property and commercialization aspects of algae in the biofuel industry during the “Algae and Seaweed Biomass” session.

Science Under Sail: May 3 Café Scientifique

Photo courtesy of Erik Zettler.

The Laboratory’s first Café Scientifique of the 2011 season will be led by special guest Dr. Erik Zettler, Associate Dean of the Sea Education Association (SEA) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3 at the Boothbay Opera House, 86 Townsend Avenue in Boothbay Harbor. Titled “Oceanographic insights from student research projects at SEA: Science under sail and the power of long-term data sets,” Dr. Zettler’s talk will discuss the experience of students working as full crew members aboard sailing ships outfitted for oceanographic sampling. In keeping with the Laboratory’s Café Scientifique format, this event is free and open to the public. Beer, wine, and sodas will be available for purchase.

Positive ID

Photo-montage of L. ochracea sheaths and cells from Lakeside Drive, Boothbay, ME. © 2011 Fleming et al.

Postdoctoral researcher Dr. Emily Fleming is the lead author of a study conducted by a team of Bigelow scientists that resolves the true identity of Leptothrix ochracea, an iron-oxidizing bacterium (FeOB) species, answering a question that has eluded researchers for over a century. FeOB are considered nuisance organisms when they cause biofouling of water distribution pipelines or contribute to biocorrosion, but are also recognized as having a beneficial role in water filtration systems. Published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, (“What’s New Is Old: Resolving the Identity of Leptothrix ochracea Using Single Cell Genomics, Pyrosequencing and FISH” (2011)6(3): e17769 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017769), the paperÕs co-authors are Dr. Manuel Martinez-Garcia, Dr. Ramunas Stepanauskas, Dr. Nicole J. Poulton, E. Dashiell P. Masland, Dr. David Emerson, and undergraduate intern Amy E. Langdon.

NPR’s Radiolab: Stay Tuned

Ari Shapiro with researchers in the marine virology laboratory. Photo by Tatiana Brailovskaya.

Independent radio news producer Ari Shapiro visited the Laboratory at the end of March to interview marine virologist Dr. Willie Wilson and tour the Provasoli-Guillard National Center for the Culture of Maine Phytoplankton. Shapiro is working on a story about WilsonÕs research for the popular National Public Radio show Radiolab. The program is scheduled to air sometime in late spring or early summer. WeÕll be sure to keep you posted about the date in a future enews.

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Dash and the Monk Seals: Expedition Granted!

Photo courtesy of Dash Masland.

We are delighted to announce that, thanks to an intrepid Internet community of online voters, Bigelow Research Technician Dash Masland has won the National Geographic Channel’s Expedition Granted competition. National Geographic made the announcement on April 8. The $10,000 Expedition Granted award will allow Masland to travel to Hawaii and begin her research on the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal. Despite the fact that these seals have been fully protected for the past few decades, it appears that most monk seal pups are dying of starvation. Masland plans to use DNA analysis to gain insight into the seals’ diet and what can be done to help them survive. More information about the project is available on Masland’s website.

Bigelow Laboratory’s R&D Featured on State of the State Television

Hear Executive Director Dr. Graham Shimmield describe the economic impact of the new Ocean Science and Education Campus on the April 5, 2011 Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECP) State of the State Program. The show is titled “Maine Technology Institute: R&D to Grow Maine’s Economy.” MECEP Executive Director Christopher St. John hosts the discussion about the role of the Maine Technology Institute—an industry-led, publicly-funded, nonprofit corporation that generates high-quality jobs across Maine by offering early-stage capital and commercialization assistance. Other guests on the program are Martin Grimnes, from Harbor Technologies in Brunswick; and Tony Paine, Kepware Technologies in Portland. An audio podcast of the program is available on the MECEP website. A DVD of the program is available for purchase by contacting

Keller Scholarship Deadline May 20

Photo by Dennis Griggs.

Applications are being accepted for the Laboratory’s annual Maureen D. Keller Scholarship. The $1,000 award is made each year to a promising Maine student who intends to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in the biological or earth sciences. The scholarship honors the memory of Dr. Maureen Keller and her dedication to quality research and education in the field of oceanography. The 2010 Keller Scholar was Sam Whittemore, of Readfield, Maine. The 2011 scholarship application deadline is Friday, May 20th. Visit the Keller Scholarship webpage for more information and to download an application.

Welcome News
In keeping with its mission to “build greater awareness in science education,” the VWR Charitable Foundation has awarded $5,000 to the Laboratory to support the 2011 Keller BLOOM Program for Maine high school juniors. The foundation was established by VWR International, LLC, a global laboratory supply and distribution company for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, government organizations, and educational institutions.

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