Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Ocean Life, Planet Health

November 2011 eNEWS

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
News for November 29, 2011

We have liftoff!
First Image from the VIIRS Satellite

Photo courtesy of the NASA/NPP Team.

The Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) onboard NASA’s newest Earth-observing satellite transmitted its first measurements on November 21, 2011, resulting in this high-resolution image of a broad swath of eastern North America (can you spot the Gulf of Maine?) from Canada’s Hudson Bay past Florida to the northern coast of Venezuela. VIIRS is one of five instruments on board the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite that launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on October 28. Bigelow Laboratory’s Ocean Observing and Optics team is one of seven research groups funded by NASA to work with data from the new VIIRS instrument to study calcium carbonate and chlorophyll-containing phytoplankton in the ocean—a major part of the global carbon cycle. Read more…

Bigelow Scientists Serving on
Multi-Institutional Expedition Teams

GEOTRACES Expedition

R/V Knorr. Photo courtesy of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Research Associate Sara Rauschenberg is currently aboard the R/V Knorr with over two dozen other scientists sailing from Woods Hole to Cape Verde, 354 miles off the coast of western Africa, during the U. S. GEOTRACES North Atlantic expedition. The cruise is part of an international, multi-year mission “to identify processes and quantify fluxes that control the distributions of key trace elements and isotopes in the ocean, and to establish the sensitivity of these distributions to changing environmental conditions.” Approximately 30 nations have participated in the program, which is planning to study all major ocean basins over the next ten years.

Atlantic Meridional Transect
Research Technician Laura Lubelczyk has just completed a seven-week expedition from Avonmouth, UK to Punta Arenas, Chile aboard the RRS Discovery as part of a 21-member scientific team participating in the Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT) program. The AMT program has been conducting research on biological, chemical, and physical oceanography over an 8,389-mile transect through a range of ecosystems, from sub-polar to tropical and from euphotic shelf seas and upwelling systems to oligotrophic mid-ocean gyres. The AMT time-series program has been studying changing conditions of these ocean ecosystems since 1995.

RRS Discovery at Avonmouth. Photo courtesy of Rob Ellis.

Take advantage of the Healing Challenge!
When you give now, Bob and Marge Healing will match new and increased gifts to Bigelow Laboratory’s Annual Fund, dollar for dollar, up to $50,000!
“Before we can preserve the ocean for future generations, we first have to understand it. That is what Bigelow does.” –Bob Healing

Bigelow Trustee Bob Healing and his wife Marge have offered the Bigelow community an opportunity to significantly strengthen the Laboratory’s Annual Fund this year. They will match all new and increased gifts made before June 30, 2012 to the Laboratory’s Annual Fund with an equal donation, up to a total of $50,000. The Healings want their challenge to bring greater recognition of the importance of unrestricted support and to stimulate similar gifts, allowing the Laboratory’s ocean research and education programs to continue growing. The Annual Fund is the Laboratory’s primary fundraiser, and the Healing Challenge offers a chance to double the impact of each new or increased gift.

To join the Healing Challenge, please make an online gift, mail a check to Bigelow Laboratory, PO Box 475, West Boothbay Harbor, ME 04575, or call Fran Scannell at 207-633-9618. Thank you!

“The man behind the diatoms”
ASLO Honors Dr. Robert Guillard on his 90th Birthday
The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO)’s September 2011 Bulletin features a detailed and colorful profile of Bigelow Emeritus Scientist Dr. Robert Guillard, written by Dr. Robert A. Andersen in celebration of Dr. Guillard’s 90th birthday. Dr. Guillard came to the Laboratory from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where worked from 1956 to 1982. His research includes a focus on the influence of environmental factors, especially trace metals, on the growth of marine phytoplankton; and the life cycles, systematics, and speciation of diatoms. Dr. Guillard continues to maintain office and research space at the Laboratory, which dedicated the Provasoli-Guillard National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota in his and Dr. Luigi Provosoli’s honor for their pioneering achievements in the culture of marine phytoplankton.

Photo by Buddy Doyle.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences …exploring the world’s ocean, from microbes to global ecosystems


Deep Down: A Hydrothermal Microbial Mat Ecosystem

Fe Mat after sampling, showing manganese-rich top crust (black layer) and underlying iron mat (~3?m across). Photo courtesy of David Emerson.

Bigelow Senior Research Scientist Dr. David Emerson is co-author of a scientific paper about the discovery of a novel hydrothermal field containing thick mats formed by iron-oxidizing bacteria deep below the surface at the base of Loihi Seamount, Hawaii’s youngest underwater volcano. Analysis of these microbes has shown that reactions between iron and oxygen support chemosynthesis in the mats, forming a nutritional base for the mat ecosystem and contributing to geochemical cycling in this extreme environment. The researchers’ findings have been published in The ISME Journal (2011) 5, 1748–1758; doi:10.1038/ismej.2011.48.

Got Algae?
Meet Featured Strain CCMP332

Senescent Cyclotella cryptica (CCMP332) highlighting abundant oil droplets. Photo courtesy of NCMA.

The new website for the Laboratory’s Provasoli-Guillard National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA) includes a regularly updated section highlighting individual phytoplankton, bacteria, archaea, or viruses from NCMA’s rapidly increasing portfolio. The Featured Strain includes narrative from the researchers who found and deposited the strain at NCMA, with additional information from its curators. NCMA’s first Featured Strain is Cyclotella cryptica, CCMP332, an important high-oil containing strain used by the algal oil industry. According to NCMA Director Dr. Willie Wilson, “it seems entirely appropriate that our first featured strain is one that was isolated in 1956 by Bob Guillard.” Learn more about Cyclotella cryptica on the NCMA’s Featured Strain webpage.

BioProcess Algae Becomes a Founding Member of the Bigelow Corporate Affiliate Program

BioProcess Algae, LLC, a Portsmouth, Rhode Island-based company that designs, builds, and operates commercial scale bioreactors that enable efficient, economical cultivation of algae, has become the founding member of the Laboratory’s newly-launched Corporate Affiliate Program (CAP). CAP makes it possible for private companies to support the Laboratory’s operations through unrestricted membership fees. Depending on the level of support, CAP members are eligible to receive advance information regarding research projects at the Laboratory, advance copies of working papers and articles, and access to the Laboratory’s resources and expertise. Earlier this fall, BioProcess Algae signed a Master Professional Research Services Agreement with the Laboratory, streamlining the process for corporate sponsorship of Bigelow-based research projects. Read more…

Graham Shimmield Appointed to Maine Maritime Academy Academic Advisory Board
Bigelow Executive Director Dr. Graham Shimmield has been appointed to the Academic Advisory Board of the Corning School of Ocean Studies at the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine. The Corning School offers “comprehensive majors” in Marine Biology and Marine Science, including the opportunity to receive a Maine Secondary Education Teaching Certification for the sciences. A five-year dual degree program combines Marine Biology or Marine Science and Small Vessel Operations, leading to both Bachelor’s and Associates degrees and qualification for the U.S.C.G. 200-ton Mate license. Corning School graduates work in a diversity of ocean science and oceanography research areas, resource management, and aquaculture, and pursue more advanced degrees. The Corning School of Ocean Studies is New England’s oldest undergraduate college of marine science.

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Photo by Rebecca Fowler.

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