Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Ocean Life, Planet Health

William Balch


Senior Research Scientist
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
60 Bigelow Drive
PO Box 380

East Boothbay, ME 04544
Phone: 202 747-3255 x301
Fax: 202 747-3257

Curriculum Vitae

Balch CV (PDF - 129 MB)


B.A., Cum laude in biology, Cornell University, 1980
Ph.D.,Biological Oceanography, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Univ. California San Diego,1985

Research Interests

I am interested in factors that affect the distribution of phytoplankton in space and time. This work has focused on coccolithophores, which are one of the main sources of calcium carbonate on the globe. More recently, we have focused on ocean acidification. My studies have crossed interdisciplinary lines in 5 areas:

Biocalcification - My laboratory has been studying the factors which regulate biocalcification. This has involved considerable time at sea and in the laboratory. We are synthesizing surveys of calcification in the equatorial Pacific, Arabian Sea, North Atlantic, Patagonian Shelf, and Gulf of Maine.

Bio-optics - These studies have focused on the bio-optical impact of suspended calcite in seawater and remote sensing algorithms used to quantify calcium carbonate concentrations from space. Since 1998 we have maintained an active field program in the Gulf of Maine involving a comprehensive time series of hydrographic, biological, optical and chemical properties (the Gulf of Maine North Atlantic Time Series, or GNATS).

Ocean Color Algorithms for Satellite Remote Sensing - My laboratory has been involved in studying new ways to estimate primary production and calcification from space using remote measurements of ocean color, sea surface temperature, and light. We currently are participating in the U.K. Atlantic Meridional Transect program ( to improve satellite algorithms for estimating suspended calcium carbonate.

Algal viruses - We have been performing laboratory experiments on the optical impact of viral infection of marine bacteria and phytoplankton. While viruses on their own have little optical impact, the infection process has profound optical impact as micron-sized cells are converted to submicron particles.

Ocean acidification -  This work has focused on the impact of ocean acidification on phytoplankton. Specifically, we are following changes in phytoplankton community structure, biomass, calcification, and the standing stock of particulate inorganic carbon as a function of increased partial pressure of CO2. One region that we have been focusing on is the Patagonian Shelf region off of Argentina. This is a rich area for coccolithophores and also is expected to be one of the first ocean regions where surface waters will become undersaturated for calcium carbonate.

Balch Laboratory



  • Page, R., B. Balch, P. Collins, D. Creeden, D. Page, and J. Tukey.  “Barrel House Bob Page and his Smokin’ 88’s” Copyright-Hottrax Records (751256001623);
  • Balch, B., B. Boege, Dave Clark, M. Felder, B. Friederich, H. Maine, M. Mitchell (Novel Jazz Septet). 2011. "Novel Jazz-Live;  Ellington and Strayhorn Rediscovered." Produced by B. Balch, M. Mitchell and B. Boege. Sheepscot Jazz and Swing Co., Newcastle, ME. SJSC 04102011;
  • Page, R., D. Page, M. Havenstein, B. Balch, T.J. Wheeler, B. Terrie,  and J. Tukey 2009.  “Live at Lincoln Academy”, Lincoln Academy, Newcastle, ME.
  • Balch, B., B. Boege, Dave Clark, M. Felder, M. Macksoud, H. Maine, M. Mitchell (Novel Jazz Septet). 2008. "Novel Ellington and Strayhorn." Produced by B. Balch and B. Boege. Sheepscot Jazz and Swing Co., Newcastle, ME. SJSC 11082008;
  • Havenstein, M. with J. Howe, L. Harris Jr., C. Jennison, R. Norris, N. Kaletsky, S. Philbrick, A. Doane, G. Wright, B. Page, D. Page, J. Tukey, B. Balch, P. Collins, L. McAuslin, M. Hamilton, P.l Runnels, L. Percy, B. Costa, A. Delgado, J. LaValle, S. Neale, B. Mulkern, J. Hunter, B. Bragan, D. Pierce and C. Stone.   2003.  “Muriel in concert”.  Beach Road Recording, Lincolnville, ME. 
  • Page, R., B. Balch, P. Collins, L. McAuslin, D. Page, and J. Tukey.  1998.  “Cash is a problem”.  Recorded and mixed at Rosewood Studio, Bremen, ME.  Jump & Shout Records JASR 1001, Atlanta, GA.
  • Page, R., B. Balch, P. Collins, D. Creeden, D. Page, and J. Tukey.  1996.  Bob Page “Project II-  Blues in Dixieland”. Produced by Aleck Janoulis.  Recorded at R. W. Studio.  Hottrax Records 5125-60004-2, Atlanta, GA.

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