Currently showing posts tagged Science

  • 27 Bigelow Laboratory students and scientists to present research at the Ocean Sciences meeting in New Orleans

    The East Boothbay campus of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences will be quiet the week of February 21st as nearly half of its scientists travel to New Orleans to share their research findings with international colleagues at the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana next week.  Included in the entourage will be 11 college students who will present research findings from this past summer working under the mentorship of Bigelow Laboratory scientists.  The February 21-26 meeting, co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Association of Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), and The Oceanography Society (TOS) is expected to attract thousands of scientists from around the globe.

    “This meeting serves as a global platform for the world’s experts to share information, data, and new insights that participants take home and incorporate into their own research,” said Dr. David Fields, who leads the undergraduate research program at Bigelow Laboratory. “We are delighted to provide this opportunity for students for it will not only expand their thinking, but they will have the unique chance to present their research findings in a professional setting among leaders in ocean science research. It will be an amazing experience for them.”

    The 11 students—Francisco Spaulding Astudillo, Emma Cold, Evangeline Fachon, Andrew Goode, Jeremiah Ets-Hokin, Alicia Hoeglund, Devan Khana, Emily Lyczkowski, Julia Maine, Halley McVeigh, and Jes Waller—will be accompanied by their Bigelow Laboratory mentors.  In addition to Fields, Research Scientists Christoph Aeppli, William Balch, Pete Countway, Mike Lomas, Patricia Matrai, Nicole Poulton, Ramunas Stepanauskas, and Benjamin Twining will be attending the meeting. Postdoctoral Researchers Steven Baer, Jason Hopkins, Younjoo Lee, Daniel Ohnemus, Kerstin Suffrian, LeAnn Whitney, and Meredith White also will be presenting.  Research technician Laura Lubelczyk rounds out the Bigelow Laboratory contingent.

    “This meeting comes at a critical time for the oceans and is a superb venue for sharing what is known about what is happening in the global ocean,” said Matrai, who also served as ASLO treasurer. “It offers scientists an opportunity to share what they are learning, discuss new findings, and collectively get a better handle on the state of the ocean

    The Bigelow Laboratory cohort promises to share what they learn over the course of the meeting.  Check back at www.bigelow.orgregularly for updates or follow along at @Bigelowlab.

    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 enterprise programs are spurring significant economic growth in the state.

  • Maine's Dr. Sarah Parcak, winner of Ted talk $1million on Colbert show

    Sarah Helen Parcak, is an associate professor of Anthropology and director of the Laboratory for Global Observation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is an Americanarchaeologist, space archaeologist, and Egyptologist, who has used satellite imaging to identify potential archaeological sites around the world. Recently, the Bangor, Maine native, won the $1,000,000 Ted Talk, and will announce what she will do with the winnings next month.

  • Colby and Bigelow Laboratory combine art and science in exhibit

    A novel art, science, and educational collaboration is underway between Colby College and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. Six different professors in disciplines ranging from biology to the art and humanities have integrated a photographic exhibit of marine microbes, created by Bigelow Laboratory, into their curriculum this fall.

    The exhibit is on display at Colby College through December 11, and culminates in a presentation of student-inspired work that evening at 5 pm in the Wormser Room at the college.
    Among the offerings, the event is scheduled to feature a microbe-inspired dance, microbial marble sculptures, scientific discussion about the relevance of marine microbes to planetary balance, and instant DNA technology.
  • Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival in its Seventh Year

    August 14, 2015

    Aurora photo by Ramona du Houx

    Dark night skies lend themselves to the ultimate stargazing experience in Downeast Maine at the 7th Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival, Sept. 10-14. The festival explores and celebrates the starlit skies through education, science and art workshops, lectures and parties and is presented by Celestron.

    There will be events held throughout the duration of the festival in and around Acadia National Park. The park and Downeast Maine are home to stellar night skies, which afford viewers the opportunity to see the clearest star-filled night skies in the eastern U.S. The festival is geared towards families and astronomers alike, and is a great way for residents and visitors to celebrate and promote the protection of the night skies while enjoying nationally recognized speakers, workshops, solar viewings, hikes and more.

    The festival kicks off with a variety of events, including a presentation by keynote speaker Dr. John A. Grant, III, a geologist at the Center for Earth & Planetary Studies at the National Air and Space Museum. Grant will be presenting "Exploring Mars with the Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity Rovers." Following Grant's presentation, attendees may enjoy the "Stars Over Sand Beach" event, where attendees can gaze at Acadia's amazing night sky and learn about constellations guided by an Acadia National Park ranger.

    Other events taking place during the festival include a sip and paint event, photography classes taught in the park, star parties allowing viewers to get up-close and personal with constellations and other night sky features, and a viewing of "The Astronaut Farmer" at the Celestial Cinema in Agamont Park. There will also be book signings and a variety of children's activities.

    In addition to Grant, there will also be many nationally recognized speakers at the festival. Dan Barry, MD, PhD, is a former NASA astronaut and veteran of three space flights, four spacewalks and two trips to the international space station, as well as Alisdair Davey from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Other can't-miss events include an under-the-stars boat cruise with Abbe Museum educator and Wabanaki storyteller George Neptune, bioluminescent night paddles in Castine, and solar viewing at The Jackson Laboratory.

    The 2015 Acadia Night Sky Festival is presented by Celestron. Additional support comes from Friends of Acadia, Bar Harbor Whale Watch, Bluenose Inn, Cape Air and Witham Family Hotels.

    For a complete listing of events happening during the 7th Annual Acadia Night Sky Festival presented by Celestron, visit For travel information to the area,

  • UMaine scientists help discover ocean chloride buried in sediment

    By Ramona du Houx

    University of Maine marine scientists are part of a team that discovered chloride — the most common dissolved substance in seawater — can leave the ocean by sticking to organic particles that settle out of surface water and become buried in marine sediment.

    The discovery helps explain the fate of chloride in the ocean over long time periods, including ocean salt levels throughout geological history, says Lawrence Mayer and Kathleen Thornton, researchers based at the UMaine Darling Marine Center in Walpole.

    Chloride is half of the power couple called sodium chloride, or table salt, says Mayer. Chloride affects ocean salinity, and thereby seawater density and ocean circulation.

    Until now, scientists thought chloride only left the ocean when seawater evaporated, leaving behind salt deposits. Such ancient deposits provide salt used to flavor food and melt ice on roads.

    But using high-energy X-rays produced by a particle accelerator at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the research team demonstrated that chloride bonds to carbon in marine organic matter.

    Researchers found high organochlorine concentrations in natural organic matter settled into sediment traps between 800 meters (2,624 feet) and 3,200 meters (10,498 feet) deep in the Arabian Sea.

    Alessandra Leri from Marymount Manhattan College led the team, which included other scientists from Marymount Manhattan College and Stony Brook University. The team showed that single-celled algae can make organic matter containing organochlorines.

    This chemical reaction can occur without phytoplankton, as well, Mayer says, under conditions similar to bleaching. Sunlight promotes the reaction so organochlorines likely form at the sunlit top of the ocean.

    The team concluded that transformations of marine chloride to nonvolatile organochlorine through biological and abiotic pathways represent a new oceanic sink for this element.

    The study titled, “A marine sink for chlorine in natural organic matter,” has been published in “Nature Geoscience.”

    Mayer and Thornton examine the ocean using biogeochemistry — or how organisms and materials chemically interact in Earth surface environments.

    The findings, says Mayer, pave the way to look for yet-to-be-discovered compounds and enzyme systems. Organic molecules that contain chlorine are often potent chemicals — including antibiotics, insecticides and poisons including dioxin.

    The discoveries also raise questions, he says, including: Are such compounds made on purpose or by accident in the ocean and what consequences might they have for the fate of marine organic carbon?

  • Boyan Slat, 19, has begun to clean up the worlds oceans using ocean currents

    Never stop dreaming and doing. There are solutions to solve man made problems and young entrapenures are engaged in that process. They are giving us all a future.

    Boyan Slat saw the devestation caused by garbage patches around the world and took on the challenge of finding a solution. He gave a riveting Ted Talk unveiling his plan to clean the pollution using passive flotation devices and the ocean's own currents.  In 2014, at the age of 19, his plan became feasible, and now it's going into effect off the coast of Japan.

    Because of ocean currents, most plastic that ends up in the oceans finds its way into garbage patches around the globe. They poison marine life and end up in the food supply of the planet. Toxic chemicals like PCBs and DDTs are absorbed by the plastic and cause diseases like cancer, malformation and impaired reproductive ability. Some marine life also get tangled up in plastic waste and drown.

     It's estimated that 1/3rd of the world's oceanic plastic pollution is within the great Pacific Garbage Patch (number 01 on the map above).

    The currents pull the sea life under the floatation devices but the lighter-than-water plastics float into the barriers.  What would have taken humanity 70,000 years to clean with boats and nets can be cleaned, instead, in decades.

    It's estimated that a single, 100km cleanup array will clean 42 percent of the ocean's plastic in 10 years.  The first array will be deployed in 2016 and technology is underway to recycle the plastic into biofuel.

     For more information please visit