MBL Scientists Describe Major Differences Between Related Desert and Aquatic Algae

By Stephanie M. McPherson Staying alive in the desert is no simple matter for green algae whose evolutionary ancestors lived in the ocean. How can some algal species survive extreme drought, while others desiccate and die? Understanding this difference can provide important information on requirements for drought tolerance that it may be possible to apply […]

Team Discovers a Significant Role for Nitrate in the Arctic Landscape

Contact: dkenney@mbl.edu 508-289-7139 WOODS HOLE, Mass. ­—Nitrogen, an essential plant nutrient, is most readily absorbed by plants in its ammonium and nitrate forms. Because of the very low nitrate levels found in arctic tundra soil, scientists had assumed that plants in this biome do not use nitrate. But a new study co-authored by four Marine […]

Genetic Analysis Uncovers the Evolutionary Origin of Vertebrate Limbs

Media Contact: Matt Wood, The University of Chicago Medicine 773-702-5894 Matthew.Wood@uchospitals.edu A new study co-authored by Neil Shubin, Interim Co-Director of the Marine Biological Laboratory, finds modern-day vertebrates share the toolkit that formed the dorsal fins of fishes CHICAGO — As you picture the first fish to crawl out of primordial waters onto land, it’s […]

What Does it Take to Hum an Hour-Long Mating Call? MBL Whitman Scientists Explain

By Stephanie M. McPherson When Lawrence Rome comes back to the Marine Biological Laboratory’s Whitman Center summer after summer, he’s excited to see who he’ll find. “Some of the scientists are there every summer, so you have good [ongoing] collaborations,” he says. “And other people come for one or two summers. So there’s this combination of a wash of […]

Genes that Aid Spinal Cord Healing in Lamprey Also Present in Humans, MBL Team Discovers

Contact: 508-685-3525; dkenney@mbl.edu Woods Hole, Mass. — Many of the genes involved in natural repair of the injured spinal cord of the lamprey are also active in the repair of the peripheral nervous system in mammals, according to a study by a collaborative group of scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and other institutions. […]

Internal Forces Directing Cell Migration are Revealed by Live-Cell Microscopy

Contact: 508-685-3525; dkenney@mbl.edu WOODS HOLE, Mass. — How do cells move in a certain direction in the body —go to a wound site and repair it, for example, or hunt down infectious bacteria and kill it? Two new studies from the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) show how cells respond to internal forces when they orient, […]

Growing Teeth and a Backbone: Studies Trace Early Origins of Skeletal Tissues

Contact: dkenney@mbl.edu; 508-289-7139 WOODS HOLE, Mass.—Two new studies on the evolutionary origin of teeth and of vertebra further illuminate the human connection to marine organisms that goes back millions of years. Both studies in the little skate (Leucoraja erinacea) are published this week by Andrew Gillis and Katharine Criswell of the University of Cambridge, U.K., […]

Not an Illusion: Clever Use of Mirrors Boosts Performance of Light-Sheet Microscope

Contact: 508-289-7139; dkenney@mbl.edu WOODS HOLE, Mass.—Using a simple “mirror trick” and not-so-simple computational analysis, scientists affiliated with the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) have considerably improved the speed, efficiency, and resolution of a light-sheet microscope, with broad applications for enhanced imaging of live cells and embryos. MBL Fellows Hari Shroff of the National Institute of Biomedical […]

Team Explores Salt Marsh Restoration to Offset Global Warming

By Stephanie M. McPherson Salt marshes have been flooded by inland freshwater along nearly a third of the U.S. Atlantic coast, due to diversions by dams, dikes, and other human constructs. This hurts more than the natural biodiversity of a saltwater system. As salt marshes freshen, they emit more and more methane—a powerful greenhouse gas. […]

Inspired by Octopus Skin, Engineers Develop a Programmable “Camouflaging” Material

Contact: Diana Kenney, Marine Biological Laboratory 508-685-3525 or 508-289-7139; dkenney@mbl.edu WOODS HOLE, Mass.—For the octopus and cuttlefish, instantaneously changing their skin color and pattern to disappear into the environment is just part of their camouflage prowess. These animals can also swiftly and reversibly morph their skin into a textured, 3D surface, giving the animal a […]