Bigelow Labs hosts open house

Posted:  Tuesday, August 4, 2015 - 12:00pm
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Visitors from all over Maine got to explore the world of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay during its annual open house on Friday, July 31.

“I've always been interested in marine science,” said Judy Davidson of Jacksonville, Florida, who is a summer resident on the Boothbay peninsula. “I go to all the Cafe Scientifiques when I'm in Maine and (I have) always been fascinated by the work being done here.”

Visitors were able to go on various tours and meet scientists, use equipment such as a microscope and FlowCam, and conduct experiments on oyster parasites. The two autonomous gliders used to explore the Gulf of Maine, Henry and Grampus, were on site for viewing, as was the Bigelow Labs supercomputer.

During the whole day the Ocean Classroom was open for kids (and any interested adults) to experiment and learn. Other activities were having fun in the photo booth, walking the trail to the shore facility and reading the “sunlight story” as you went, and learning about basic research equipment at the dock such as a visibility disk, plankton tow and Nansen bottle. Kids took their seawater samples up to the shore facility to view them through microscopes are learn about the microbes they had caught.

“My brother is an intern here, which is mostly why we came,” Abe Catz of Brunswick said. “It's been fun, and I enjoyed the tour.”

Students from the Boothbay Sea and Science Center walked over for a visit, and got to learn more in-depth about the ocean. According to a member of staff, Anna Sirois, the students have some of the equipment that was being used on the Bigelow dock, but much smaller versions.

“They have already been introduced to the concepts, but usually just in theory,” Sirois said. “Here then can learn hands-on with the real equipment.”