Too Small to Eat? Indu Sharma, E.E. Just Fellow, Asks if Shape Helps a Microbe Survive

Three years ago at Hampton University, a historically Black university in Virginia, associate professor Indu Sharma and her students were excited to look at the deep-sea samples she had collected on a research cruise to the Atlantic slope. Are there any bacteria in there, they wondered? They released drops of seawater into petri dishes and […]

Five New Faculty to Arrive, Expanding MBL’s Resident Science Program

The MBL is growing. Three new scientists are joining the Ecosystems Center over the next year, and two more will join the Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution. “We have added seven new faculty in the last four years, including Emil Ruff in November of 2018 and Blair Paul in September […]

Ocean Microbes Team Up Brilliantly to Gather Food When It’s Scarce

Contact:; 508-685-3525 WOODS HOLE, Mass. – What’s a hungry marine microbe to do when the pickings are slim? It must capture nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus, or iron – to survive, yet in vast expanses of the ocean, nutrients are extremely scarce. And the stakes are high: Marine microbial communities drive many of the elemental […]

“Take Five” with MBL Trustee Patrice Yarbough: From the MBL to NASA and Beyond

“Take Five” is an occasional feature in which we pose five questions to an MBL community member about their career, dreams, and passions. Here we profile Patrice O. Yarbough, senior scientist at KBR/NASA Johnson Space Center, 1980 alumna of the MBL Physiology course and, as of July 1, a new member of the MBL Board […]

Seeing the Invisible: How Butterflies Make Transparent Wings

WOODS HOLE, Mass. — Many animals have evolved camouflage tactics for self-defense, but some butterflies and moths have taken it even further: They’ve developed transparent wings, making them almost invisible to predators. A team led by Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) scientists studied the development of one such species, the glasswing butterfly, Greta oto, to see […]

Salt Marshes Trap Microplastics in their Sediments, Creating Record of Human Plastic Use

Contact: Diana Kenney,; 508-289-7139 WOODS HOLE, Mass. — Plastics are everywhere. From cell phones to pens and cars to medical devices, the modern world is full of plastic— and plastic waste. New research from scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) Ecosystems Center found that some of that plastic waste has been accumulating in […]

MBL Begins First Test of Tropical Seaweed Farming for Biofuels Production

Contact:; 508-289-7139 WOODS HOLE, Mass. and La Parguera, P.R. – A team of researchers led by Loretta Roberson, associate scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, has installed the first seaweed farm in Puerto Rico and U.S. tropical waters. The research array furthers the design and development of a system for offshore cultivation […]

MBL Announces Whitman Center Fellowships and Early Career Investigators

The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is pleased to welcome the recipients of the 2021 Whitman Fellowships and Early Career Investigator Awards, which support 19 scientists to conduct innovative research for up to 10 weeks in the MBL Whitman Center. Due to COVID-19-related restrictions, nearly all of the 2020 Whitman Fellows and Early Career Investigators deferred […]

Twelve Journalists Awarded Fellowships in the MBL Logan Science Journalism Program

Contact: Diana Kenney 508-289-7139; WOODS HOLE, Mass. – The MBL looks forward to the arrival in May of 12 accomplished journalists who have been awarded a competitive fellowship in the MBL Logan Science Journalism Program. Now in its 34th year, the Logan Science Journalism Program provides health and science journalists with immersive, hands-on research […]

Bottom-Up is the Way Forward for Nitrogen Reduction at Institutions

WOODS HOLE, Mass. — Nitrogen is an element basic for life — plants need it, animals need it, it’s in our DNA — but when there’s too much nitrogen in the environment, things can go haywire. On Cape Cod, excess nitrogen in estuaries and salt marshes can lead to algal blooms, fish kills, and degradation […]