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May 17, 2016

National Science Foundation awards Bigelow Labs $1.1M for microbe study

The National Science Foundation has awarded $1,093,785 to the East Boothbay-based Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences to fund a study on microbes and their effects on oceans.

The program, titled "Microbial Community Structure and Expression of Functional Genes Involved in the Seasonal Cycling of DMSP in the Southern Ocean," looks to determine how a compound found in marine phytoplankton and seaweeds influences the diversity and composition of microbial assemblages in the ocean.

The research will also be leveraged to introduce concepts and data linking microbial diversity and biogeochemistry to a range of audiences, including high school and undergraduate students in Maine. Moreover, the project will engage teachers and students in rural K-8 schools, according to a release announcing the funding.

"Bigelow Laboratory is a leader in efforts to study microbes and their effect on processes within our oceans," Sens. Collins and King said. "The health of our oceans is vital not only to the fishing industry, but to the entire global ecosystem. This investment will help the skilled oceanographers and scientists at Bigelow Laboratory better understand one important factor that affects the growth and development of marine microorganisms."

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