MBL


The MBL hosted the annual Brown-MBL Partnership retreat, November 8-9 in Woods Hole. Thirty-six Brown undergraduate students visited MBL laboratories, the Marine Resources Center, the Semester in Environmental Science, and the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to investigate research and internship opportunities at MBL.

The retreat featured a symposium, “Imaging Across Biology,” and a display organized by MBL Senior Scientist Rudolf Oldenbourg with contributions from Shinya Inoué (MBL), Louie Kerr (MBL), Mai Tran (MBL), and Jim McIlvain (Zeiss Inc.) and others that traced the history of microscopy at the MBL.

Rudolf Oldenbourg explains the principles of polarized light to Brown students visiting for the Brown-MBL Partnership retreat.

 

Be prepared to be inspired! iBiology has just released “Why I Do Science, Part II,” a collection of short interviews with MBL course students. Common themes are friendship, fun, and the creative challenges of scientific problem-solving. The students, who were at MBL in the summer of 2012, are from universities and institutes around the globe. iBiology (formerly iBioSeminars) is directed by MBL visiting scientist Ron Vale of University of California, San Francisco.

 

 

The first annual Northeast Climate Science Center (NE CSC) Fellows Retreat is being held this week at MBL’s Marshview Field Station near Plum Island, off the North Shore coast of Massachusetts.  Sixteen graduate and postdoctoral fellows from eight states are learning about climate challenges to coastal and salt marsh habitats and meeting with federal and state managers, including stakeholders from the nearby Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, the State of Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management office, and Division of Ecological Restoration.

NE CSC Consortium leaders, including Jimmy Nelson and Christopher Neill from the MBL Ecosystems Center,  are facilitating interactive exercises in which Fellows practice science communication and engaging stakeholders in the research design process. The MBL is a founding member of the NE CSC consortium.

Jimmy Nelson of the Ecosystems Center explains results from a Plum Island, Mass., marsh nutrient enrichment experiment to Northeast Climate Science Center fellows at a retreat at MBL's Marshview Farm field station. Credit: Chris Neill

Jimmy Nelson of the Ecosystems Center explains results from a Plum Island, Mass., marsh nutrient enrichment experiment to Northeast Climate Science Center fellows at a retreat at MBL’s Marshview Farm field station. Credit: Chris Neill

The NE CSC, established in 2012, is part of a network of eight regional CSCs created to provide scientific information, tools, and techniques that managers and other parties interested in land, water, wildlife and cultural resources can use to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate change.  It is hosted by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and also works with a consortium of institutions: the College of Menominee Nation, Columbia University, Marine Biological Laboratory, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, Columbia, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In addition to the host and consortium institutions, the NE CSC will also collaborate with other important partner institutions.

Neuroscientist Sheila Nirenberg, an alumna of MBL’s Neural Systems and Behavior (NS&B) course, was one of 24 people to be named a MacArthur Fellow this week by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Nirenberg, whose research focuses on deciphering the neural “codes” that transform visual stimuli into signals the brain can understand, is an associate professor in the Physiology and Biophysics department at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Nirenberg says NS&B, which she took in 1986, “was one of the best things ever. Worked hard,
played hard, learned so much so fast!” She also lectured in the MBL’s Methods in Computational Neuroscience course in 2012. MacArthur Fellows receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000.

A thin crescent of ice was still on Eel Pond when Pablo Correa came to the MBL last March to begin shooting a video. Correa’s visit was exploratory: He knew he wanted to make a short documentary about the MBL, but hadn’t defined a focus beyond the diverse animals maintained in the Marine Resources Center. Correa spent several days shadowing David Remsen, manager of the Marine Resources Department, and his staff, and he took an early-season sail with them on the MBL’s collecting boat, the Gemma. He also observed several MBL scientists who use marine animals as model organisms in their research.

The video Correa ended up making, “These Eyes Follow the Moon,” is not a typical documentary. It is nearly wordless and impressionistic. Yet it also captures an essential “feeling” about the MBL. It moves from the wide-open spaces of the MBL’s ocean setting to the quiet, focused concentration in labs where instruments are prepared for the microscopic imaging of cells. The video also reflects the rhythm of Marine Resources just as the collecting season starts up in early spring. (The MBL collects marine organisms for biological research from April through December, with August being the high season when squid and many other species are collected daily. “August is also the time of year when anything unusual starts to show up in the nets,” Remsen says.)

Correa is editor of the science section of El Espectador, a daily newspaper with national circulation based in Bogotá, Colombia; and a free-lancer for SciDev.net, a network that publishes science news from developing countries. He was a fellow in MIT’s Knight Science Journalism program in 2012-2013.

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Featured in this video are:

In the Marine Resources Center: Skate (Rajidae) at 0:06, 0:24 and 0:33; spider crabs (Libinia) at 3:30; scup (Stenotomus) at 3:40; spiny dogfish (Squalus ) at 4:10; seahorse (Hippocampus) at 4:16. At 4:30, Dave Remsen describes the eyes of the horseshoe crab (Limulus). At 5:30, cuttlefish (Sepiida) for the study of cephalopod camouflage in Roger Hanlon’s laboratory.

Movie of squid skin at 6:27 by Trevor Wardill and Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido: Confocal z-stack of squid skin, blue and green colors showing tissue auto fluorescence and Lucifer yellow forward filled neurons shifted to red using antibodies.

Gonzalez-Bellido PT and Wardill TJ (2012). Labeling and confocal imaging of neurons in thick invertebrate tissue samples. Cold Spring Harb Protoc: doi:10.1101/pdb.prot069625

Movie of dividing cells at 7:20 by James LaFountain and Rudolf Oldenbourg: The events of cell division during meiosis I in a living insect spermatocyte. Testes from the Crane fly Nephrotoma suturalis were observed with time-lapse liquid crystal polarized light microscopy (LC-PolScope, MBL, Woods Hole MA, and PerkinElmer, Hopkinton MA). Movie images display the naturally occurring birefringence of cell organelles and structures that are made up of aligned molecules, such as the meiotic spindle and mitochondria. Horizontal image width is 56 µm.

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