Woods Hole

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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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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

By Beth Liles

The MBL hosted a meet-and-greet barbeque on the Swope Terrace for 23 undergraduates who will spend the summer up to their elbows in research in Woods Hole. Swapping stories around the picnic tables were 13 students in the Partnership in Education Program (PEP) and 10 in the Biological Discovery in Woods Hole/REU program.

PEP and BDWH students, standing, from left: Jacob Cravens (Boston College), Norian Caporale-Berkowitz (Brown University), Rachel Noyes (Ithaca College), Miles Borgen (Western Washington University), Morgan Kelly (Harvard University). Seated, from left: Kari Jackson (Morehouse College), Matt Birk (UNC Wilmington), Michelle Frank (St. Olaf), Emma Tran (University of Texas)

The Biological Diversity in Woods Hole program is a Research Experiences for Undergraduates initiative funded by the National Science Foundation.

PEP is a partnership between the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative (whose members include MBL, NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USGS Woods Hole Science Center, SEA Education Association, and Woods Hole Research Center) and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Front table, clockwise from lower left: Stephani Fogerson (William Jewel College), Cloe Howard (Spelman College), Andrew Klein (University of Maryland, College Park), Dr. Ambrose Jearld (PEP director; NOAA/NMFS), Joel Ramkhelawan (Universidad del Este, Puerto Rico), Jesse Diaz (UPR Cayey), Onjale Scott (PEP coordinator), Janeea Ventour (Tuskegee University)

Clockwise from lower left: Ann Thompson (Humboldt State University), Lakiah Clark (Tuskegee University), Jan-Alexis Barry (University of the Virgin Islands), James Lewis (University of Maryland, College Park), Al Mensinger (BDWH/REU program co-director; University of Minnesota, Duluth), Cassandra Ruff (Humboldt State University), Jamie Medina (Bridgewater State College), Katie Laushman (Earlham College), Alicia Perez (Humboldt State University)

From left: Allen Mensinger (BDWH/REU director; University of Minnesota, Duluth); George Liles (PEP program manager; NOAA/NMFS); R. Paul Malchow (BDWH/REU director; University of Illinois at Chicago); Ambrose Jearld (PEP director; NOAA/NMFS)

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