Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Ocean Life, Planet Health

Oct 2010 eNews

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Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
October 27, 2010

Laboratory Receives Over $9.1 Million in Federal Funds to Build the Center for Ocean Health
One of five such awards in the U.S.
On September 29, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded Bigelow Laboratory a $9.1 million construction grant to build the Center for Ocean Health (COH) on its Ocean Science and Education Campus in East Boothbay, Maine. COH scientists will conduct advanced research on marine microbial ecosystems and their role in maintaining the health of the oceans. The facility’s 18,200 GSF main building will be augmented by a 1,000 GSF shore facility, with research vessel pier and dock space, support for SCUBA operations, and seawater pumping facilities for laboratory and field research. NIST awarded a total of $50 million dollars in construction grants for new scientific facilities across the United States. The four other 2010 Construction Grant Program recipients were the Golisano Institute for Sustainability Research Building at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Center for Civil Engineering Earthquake Research at the University of Nevada, the Center of Excellence in Nano Mechanical Science & Engineering at the University of Michigan, and the Western Institute of Nanotechnology on Green Engineering and Metrology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Reliving the Moment

Photo by Greg Bernard.

If you weren’t able to come to the Ocean Science and Education Campus groundbreaking in September, or if you’d like to see it happen all over again, we’ve posted a five-and-half minute video of the event on our website, including excerpts from remarks by U.S. Senator Susan Collins, and footage of the shovels that made it official.

Laboratory Embarks on First U. S. Expedition of the International GEOTRACES Project

Dr. Ben Twining and Sara Rauschenberg at the dock in Lisbon, Portugal.

Sara Rauschenberg, Research Technician in the Trace Metal Biogeochemistry laboratory, has begun a 52-day expedition on the R/V Knorr to study the distributions of trace metals in the North Atlantic Ocean as part of the large international project GEOTRACES. Rauschenberg is part of a 32-member team of trace metal chemists from the United States collecting particles and phytoplankton cells from throughout the water column along a transect running from Lisbon, Portugal to Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The expedition is part of a three-year National Science Foundation grant to Senior Research Scientist Dr. Ben Twining. For more information, visit the Current Expeditions page on our website.

Phytoplankton Ecologist Dr. Cynthia Heil Joins Senior Research Scientist Team
We are delighted to announce that Dr. Cynthia Heil will join the Laboratory as a Senior Research Scientist on November 1. Dr. Heil has been a Senior Research Scientist and Administrator at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, a division of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, where she was subsection leader for harmful algal blooms (HABs) for the past six years. Her research focus includes the ecology and physiology of phytoplankton, particularly those involved in HAB events, and the dynamics of inorganic and organic carbon and other nutrients in coastal and marine environments. Dr. Heil received a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island, an M.S. in Marine Science from the University of South Florida, and a B. S. in Cellular Biology from Purdue University.

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


Giant Marine Virus Discovered
Dr. Willie Wilson has co-authored a paper just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences identifying a new virus that has the largest genome of any marine virus discovered to date. Called CroV, the virus infects Cafeteria roenbergensis, a predatory marine microflagellate found throughout the oceans. CroV’s genome has 730,000 base pairs for building DNA, making it larger than some bacteria. It is able to synthesize its own proteins and sugars, making it more similar to cellular life forms than previously seen in marine viruses.

A Special Café Scientifique on November 16: Reflections on a Decade of Discovery
Laboratory Executive Director Dr. Graham Shimmield will lead a discussion about the ten-year global Census of Marine Life (CoML) Program at a special Café Scientifique at 6 p.m. on November 16, 2010 at the Frontier Café in Brunswick, Maine. The CoML, which recently concluded with a week of meetings at the Royal Society in London, was largest endeavor ever undertaken to understand the biodiversity in the oceans and human impacts on marine life. More than 2,700 researchers in 670 institutions participated in this global project. The CoML made direct observation of 120,000 marine species, and discovered 6,000 previously unknown life forms. Shimmield was Chair of the European sector of CoML Program. The Café is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, so plan to arrive early.

Poulton Aboard Tara Oceans as Chief Scientist
Bigelow Research Scientist Nicole Poulton has joined the Tara Oceans expedition as Chief Scientist on the Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires leg of the three-year, scientific circumnavigation of the world’s oceans. Tara Oceans is bringing together an international, interdisciplinary team of oceanographers, ecologists, biologists, geneticists, and physicists to study the diversity of life in the oceans and the impact of global climate change on oceanic ecosystems.

In the News: Science Daily, October 21, 2010

Emiliania huxleyi, a species of coccolithophore with a global distribution from the tropics to subarctic waters.

Dr. Barney Balch’s research expedition off the Patagonian coast is featured in Science Daily’s recent story about “Coccolithophore Blooms in the Southwest Atlantic.” The story describes the research conducted aboard the R/V Roger Revelle during a period of peak coccolithophore abundance in December 2008. Coccolithophores are a type of phytoplankton that live in large numbers throughout the ocean. These microscopic, single-celled plants surround themselves with plates, called coccoliths, made of calcium carbonate.

Presenting the Coccolithopumpkin... Happy Halloween from all of us!

Pumpkin carving by Ilana Gilg.

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