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 […]

How the Cuttlefish Spikes Out its Skin: Neurological Study Reveals Surprising Control

Contacts: Diana Kenney, Marine Biological Laboratory dkenney@mbl.edu; 508-685-3525 or 508-289-7139 Craig Brierley, University of Cambridge Craig.Brierley@admin.cam.ac.uk; 01223 766205 WOODS HOLE, Mass. — Wouldn’t it be useful to suddenly erect 3D spikes out of your skin, hold them for an hour, then even faster retract them and swim away? Octopus and cuttlefish can do this as […]

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 […]

Framework for Reducing Nitrogen Pollution on College Campuses Receives National Award

The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and six partners have received an award for developing “The Nitrogen Footprint Tool Network,” a program for assessing and reducing the amount of nitrogen pollution produced on college and research campuses. The partners received the  “Campus Sustainability Research” award last month from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in […]

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 […]

Mixed Organization of Gut Bacteria is Revealed by MBL Imaging Technology

Contact: Diana Kenney, Marine Biological Laboratory dkenney@mbl.edu; 508-289-7139 or 508-685-3525 WOODS HOLE, Mass.— Disruptions in the microbiome of the human gut are correlated with several diseases, including obesity and cancer. Yet little is known about the spatial organization of the nearly 1,000 bacterial species in the human gut, which can influence how the species interact […]