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  • Maine's natural phenomena- snowball waves

    Waves of Snowballs at Sebago lake, Maine was published to Ytube on Dec, 31, 2015 by Stone Point Studios.

    The natural phenomena is rare and only occurs when the ambient temperatures of the air and water are just right. As the waves come to shore the air is cold enough for their crests to form ice. Starting as small balls, as they continue to roll from crest to crest they turn into bigger ice balls, that rock together with an other world beat.

    Since the Ytube video has been published the weather channel and other news agencies have used it as an attraction.

  • University of Southern Maine digitalizes historic globes expanding the world for researchers

    The Osher Map Library is in the midst of a multi-year project, funded with a $500,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, to digitize 24 of their historic globes by making 3-D images available online to scholars, students and others.

    Some of the almost 300 globes at the University of Southern Maine, in their Osher Map Library, have been hidden from public view for hundreds of years. Others were on display, but under glass or too fragile to handle.

    To display thedigitized globes at http://www.oshermaps.org, OML has decided to present all the results of their imaging process. The display will use Zoomify to display all of the high-resolution “flat” images taken of each globe. Viewers can examine each high-resolution image and, should they wish, request images of particular portions of the globe. From the default display, clicking on the 3D icon launches the 3D animation. The globe can be rotated a full 360° by clicking on the image, holding, and dragging away from the area you want to view. Both Zoomify and 3D animation are coded in HTML5 so that they work on all types of computers and mobile devices.

  • Marine Microbiology Initiative awards grants to 100 scientists -Bigelow Laboratory gets $150,000

    Dinoflagellates are single-celled marine organisms that use two (dino) whip-like organs called flagella (flagellates) to propel themselves in water. (stock photo)

    Bigelow Laboratory is part of international effort to develop ways to model marine microbial ecology to increase understanding and predictability of ocean systems

    By Ramona du Houx

      Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences Senior Research Scientist José Antonio Fernández Robledo will spend the next year developing molecular tools to manipulate dinoflagellates to better understand their function and how they might transform themselves under varying conditions.

      Dinoflagellates are single-celled marine organisms that use two (dino) whip-like organs called flagella (flagellates) to propel themselves in water. They are distributed throughout the global ocean and are the first link in the aquatic food chain--the initial transfer of light energy to chemical energy (photosynthesis). Almost all other organisms are dependent upon this energy transfer for their subsequent existence.

      This work, being done in collaboration with Dr. Claudio H. Slamovits at Dalhousie University in Halifax Nova Scotia, is part of an $8 million Marine Microbial Initiative launched by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

      The Initiative will occur over the next two years supporting the efforts of more than 100 scientists across 33 institutions to collectively tackle the challenge of developing methods to bring experimental model systems to the ocean.

       Bigelow Laboratory was awarded $150,000 in funding.                     

      The genetic tools generatedin this effort will allow researchers to investigate the activities of microbial genes to understand how these organisms function in marine ecosystems and provide the capability to ask scientific questions inways not currently possible.

      Model systems, such as the mammalian gut bacterium Escherichia coli for microbiology and the fruit fly and zebra fish for biomedicine, have been invaluable for deciphering complex biology. For example, by studying fruit flies, scientists gain insight into the inheritance of human traits such as eye color. But in the world of marine microbial ecology, there are very few model systems and associated tools that enable scientists to deeply explore the physiology, biochemistry, and ecology of marine microbes, which are key drivers of the ocean’s elemental cycles, influence greenhouse gas levels, and support marine food webs.

      Ginger Armbrust, Ph.D., from the University of Washington explained that an important outcome would be to “expand the community of people that are working on these organisms and making big breakthroughs into how these organisms function.” She added, “New model systems will be a magnet for people from outside the field of marine microbial ecology as they will suddenly be able to work with marine microbes in ways that they are used to working with other model organisms.

    “It is great to be part of this international effort to advance understanding of the marine microbial community and how it might respond to change,” said Bigelow Laboratory scientist Fernández Robledo. Bigelow photo

      Currently, researchers have access to powerful tools in biology to help them understand the ocean, such as microscopy and DNA sequencing, but are lacking essential tools in genetics to make robust experimental model systems. Without these tools, scientists are less able to link specific genes to cell behavior or determine how microbes interact within their environment and with one another – critical information for understanding how ocean ecosystems function.

      “It is great to be part of this international effort to advance understanding of the marine microbial community and how it might respond to change,” said Bigelow Laboratory scientist Fernández Robledo. “The support from the Moore Foundation will allow us to jump start our genetic capabilities here and help contribute to global ocean understanding.”

      Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, an independent not-for-profit research institution on the coast of Maine, conducts research ranging from microbial oceanography to large-scale ocean processes that affect the global environment. Recognized as a leader in Maine’s emerging innovation economy, the Laboratory’s research, education, and technology transfer programs are spurring significant economic growth in the state.