Woods Hole


Every July, the community of Woods Hole happily anticipates one unique event. There is nothing else quite like it on Cape Cod, or probably in the whole country. The annual Fourth of July parade organized by the MBL Club is a festive celebration of all things Woods Hole, from the MBL itself to sea life, science, and all things random. It is a quirky parade that proudly takes over Water street beginning at 12 noon every July 4th. It draws a large audience in this tiny town, from locals to summertime regulars to unsuspecting tourists just looking for a cup of coffee. Leading the parade was this year’s grand marshal, Jack Gilbert, an associate professor from the University of Chicago. As a band played enthusiastically behind him, Gilbert lead the miscellaneous yet passionate crew down the road.

Several memorable participants from the MBL included Grass Foundation fellows and faculty, wearing their grass skirts and hats while carrying signs with phrases such as “Lower Animal Rights Now.” The crew from the Marine Resources Department were preceded by manager Dave Remsen, riding his handmade horseshoe crab creation that he assembled by attaching cardboard to his bicycle. Another clever use of cardboard came in the form of a model of the Gemma, an MBL collecting boat, that was carried by members of the Biology of Parasitism summer course. Other 2015 MBL Advanced Research courses were represented, including the Embryology course and the Neural Systems and Behavior course, which entailed costumes and props to act out various scientific functions and processes. The Biology of Parasitism course also dressed as a few of their research organisms, while the Summer Program in Neuroscience, Ethics, and Survival (SPINES) course dressed as pirates. Spectators could clearly see how much fun those walking in the parade had, though it was not always clear to the onlookers what some participants represented.

More notable characters included “Lobster Claus” (envision a Santa Claus-lobster hybrid), the Woods Hole folk dancers showcasing their moves, several dogs sporting patriotic bandanas, and some homemade jelly fish assembled by young girls holding decorated umbrellas. A rainbow banner announced the marriage equality group who were celebrating the recent groundbreaking Supreme Court decision by holding hands and singing the Dixie Cups’ hit song “Chapel of Love” joyfully.

Spectators and participants alike enjoyed some refreshing watermelon outside the MBL club to wrap up the festivities. The MBL Club’s annual Fourth of July Parade is a truly one-of-a-kind event that showcases what a special place Woods Hole is, year after year.

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Buzzards Bay, Eel Pond, Great Harbor are in a deep-freeze. Our hardworking MBL grounds crews have been plowing, shoveling, sanding, and carving narrow walkways throughout campus since January. Shoes, cars,and stairwells are filthy, parking lots are flanked by ugly snow mountains, and patience with snow shovels, overcoats, scarves, gloves, boots, ear warmers, etc., is quickly waning. Even the Eel Pond ducks seem to be crying “UNCLE!” And more snow is predicted for this week.

So how are we surviving the tough winter weather?

Woods Hole’s natural, transient beauty (less the parking lots) keeps us charmed and impressed. Gorgeous sunsets, glimmering snowscapes, ice-capped shorelines, and oddly translucent waters make Woods Hole appear extraordinarily shiny and picturesque. It’s cold and inconvenient, but we all agree the village looks pretty darned good in snow.

Along with breathtaking winter views, good old New England fun energizes and entertains us, despite the bitter cold temperatures. Just today, at lunchtime, a hearty handful of ice skaters ventured out onto a solidly frozen Eel Pond. (The last time the pond froze was more than a decade ago, so this was quite a novelty for most.) Colleagues bundled up and headed out to the dock to watch the skaters, or to embark on their own personal historic walk across the water they are used to boating on. (Yes, that is MBL’s Gemma Captain Bill Klimm donning skates and joining in a round of pick-up hockey. No collecting boat trips today!)

Yes, Woods Hole is exceptionally beautiful and interesting under winter’s weight. But, really, spring is welcome anytime now….

— by Beth Liles

Photos by Hunt Willard, Pam Wilmot, and Beth Liles.

 

 

Collaborative marine science took a leap of global proportions on June 21, 2014. At carefully orchestrated times on that day, hundreds of scientists around the world collected ocean samples, using standardized protocols, as part of the first international Ocean Sampling Day (OSD). They were united by the goal of identifying the microbial communities in all the samples–no small task given that one drop of seawater contains about 20 million microbes.

This movie features MBL Associate Scientist Linda Amaral-Zettler, who took a lead role in OSD as a scientific adviser to the project’s European sponsor, MicroB3, and who actively sampled and helped coordinate sampling in the Azorean Islands. Building a knowledge base of marine microbes is critical for understanding the impact of global challenges to ocean health, such as a warming climate.

“Sampling is expensive,” Amaral-Zettler says. “The more we can leverage individual regional efforts and resources, the better we will be in protecting the ocean.”

As soon as they were collected, the samples were frozen and shipped to Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany. The next step is to identify “who” are in the samples through DNA extraction and analysis.

OSD will take place again in 2015 and hopefully into the future, Amaral Zettler says, which would provide a long-term perspective on how marine microbial diversity changes over time. “We need to understand how things are changing in order to protect them.”

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Contact:
Cheryl Dybas, NSF, (703) 292-7734, cdybas@nsf.gov

WOODS HOLE, Mass.–For decades, doctors have developed methods to diagnose how different types of cells and systems in the body are functioning. Now a team of scientists has adapted an emerging biomedical technique to study the vast body of the ocean.

@MBL is firing up the “Photo of the Week” series again! EVERYONE on the MBL campus is invited to participate. We’d love to feature your shots of life at the MBL: what’s unique, intriguing, beautiful, funny, classic. Please send “Photo of the Week” submissions to mblnews@mbl.edu, and include caption information (who, what, when, where, why). Please ask permission from anyone featured in your photos before you submit them.

Today’s Photo of the Week heralds a beloved Woods Hole tradition: the July Fourth Parade. In this photo taken on July 4, 1976 (the Unites States’ bicentennial year), leading the parade as Uncle Sam is the late Albert Szent-Györgyi, a longtime MBL scientist and trustee and a 1937 Nobel Prize laureate. To his right, playing the fife, is Phyllis Goldstein, who will be memorialized this Sunday at the MBL (please see blog post below for wonderful, musical tribute to Phyllis). Many thanks to Allen Rosenspire of Wayne State University, who was an Embryology student in 1976, for sending this photo to MBL Communications.

The 2011 July Fourth parade, which as always will feature whacky and whimsical floats dreamed up by MBL students, will start at noon on School Street at the Children’s School of Science and trumpet its way down Water Street to the MBL campus.

July 4, 1976 Woods Hole parade with Albert Szent-Györgyi (Uncle Sam) leading, and Phyllis Goldstein playing the fife. Photo by Alan Rosenspire

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