The Lamprey Regenerates its Spinal Cord Not Just Once — but Twice

Contact: Diana Kenney, Marine Biological Laboratory 508-289-7139; dkenney@mbl.edu WOODS HOLE, Mass.— Spontaneous recovery from spinal cord injury is almost unheard of in humans and other mammals, but many vertebrates fare better. The eel-like lamprey, for instance, can fully regenerate its spinal cord even after it’s been severed — within 3 months the lamprey is swimming, […]

A World First: MBL Team Births Multiple Generations of Pygmy Zebra Octopus

Hundreds of tiny, orange-speckled pygmy zebra octopuses, each no bigger than a grain of rice, have safely hatched out in the MBL’s Marine Resources Center. And Bret Grasse, Manager of Cephalopod Operations, couldn’t be more proud. “It’s very exciting for us. Other scientists have successfully mated this species before, but nobody had achieved multigenerational culture […]

Lifespan Extension at Low Temperatures is Genetically Controlled, Study Suggests

A female rotifer (Brachionus), a model system for aging studies. Credit: Michael Shribak and Kristin Gribble WOODS HOLE, Mass. —Why do we age? Despite more than a century of research (and a vast industry of youth-promising products), what causes our cells and organs to deteriorate with age is still unknown. One known factor is temperature: […]

Team Totals Immense Amount of Carbon in “Zombie” Bacteria, Other Deep Life Microbes

Deep Carbon Observatory contacts: Terry Collins: tc@tca.tc; Katie Pratt: katie_pratt@uri.edu  Barely living “zombie” bacteria and other forms of life constitute an immense amount of carbon deep within Earth’s subsurface—245 to 385 times greater than the carbon mass of all humans on the surface, according to scientists nearing the end of a 10-year international collaboration to […]

MBL Signs Agreement with Vilnius University, Lithuania, to Promote Academic Exchange

WOODS HOLE, Mass. — The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Lithuania’s Vilnius University, the oldest university in the Baltic states, “to develop a spirit of amity” and “promote academic cooperation and exchange of experiences” between the two institutions. Vilnius University, founded in 1579, is the largest university in Lithuania, […]

MBL Scientist Osamu Shimomura, 2008 Nobel Laureate, Dies at 90

Contact: Diana Kenney 508-685-3525; dkenney@mbl.edu WOODS HOLE, Mass.—With great sadness, the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) notes the passing of Osamu Shimomura, Ph.D., who died on Oct. 19, 2018, in Nagasaki, Japan. Shimomura was a Distinguished Scientist Emeritus at MBL, a former member of the MBL Society, and a 2008 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry. The MBL […]

Whitman Fellow Andrea Pauli Christens “Bouncer,” Gatekeeper of the Egg

“I think Bouncer is absolutely amazing,” Andrea Pauli says, referring to a very short but powerful protein her lab discovered that’s required for sperm to penetrate an egg during zebrafish fertilization. Not only that, Bouncer blocks entry to the egg by different species of sperm  – hence the gatekeeper-at-a-nightclub name they chose for this potent […]

Study Indicates a Conserved Role for Serotonin in Regulating Behavior in Octopus, Humans

Contact: dkenney@mbl.edu; 508-685-3525 WOODS HOLE, Mass. — The mood-altering drug MDMA – which promotes positive, friendly social interactions in humans by inhibiting serotonin uptake in nerve cells – has a similar behavioral effect in an octopus species, scientists reported today. This indicates that serotonin has been functioning as a regulator of social behavior for at […]

With National Award, Hawaiian Bobtail Squid Rises to Top as Emerging Model System

Contact: dkenney@mbl.edu; 508-289-7139 WOODS HOLE, Mass.– Senior Scientist Joshua Rosenthal has received a prestigious award to develop the Hawaiian bobtail squid as a new “super model” for biological research, capping a months-long search at the Marine Biological Laboratory during which several species of squid were considered for the part. The grant is one of eleven […]

The Rules of Attraction: Whitman Scientists Find Elusive Molecule that Helps Sperm Find Egg

More than 100 years ago, F.R. Lillie of the University of Chicago, then director of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), discovered that eggs from marine invertebrates release a chemical factor that attracts sperm, a process called chemotaxis. Sperm, for their part, swim up a chemical gradient to reach the egg, assisted by a pulsatile rise […]