Dr. Nichole Price, a marine ecologist who studies life on the seafloor, has been named a senior research scientist for the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay.
Price is setting up a laboratory that will investigate how ongoing global changes are affecting bottom-dwelling marine organisms in shallow coastal habitats and how the ecosystem as a whole is being affected.
Prior to joining Bigelow Laboratory, Price was a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where she also did post-doctoral research on coral reefs. While at Scripps, Price worked on extremely remote, uninhabited islands and in marine protected areas, which allowed her to study the effects of climate change and ocean acidification without the effects of human actions or coastal development. Her innovative work was recognized by the Japanese Coral Reef Society, which designated Price as one of the world’s “Young Researchers” to watch.
“Dr. Price is extending her knowledge of coral reef systems to focus on seaweeds, their relationship with microbial organisms, and how each is adapting to changing environmental conditions,” said Dr. Graham Shimmield, executive director of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. “We are delighted that she is joining us for she brings a new, innovative approach to her research and a fresh, energetic perspective that will enhance our scientific team.”
After graduating from Connecticut College (bachelor’s degree in math and biology), Price went on to simultaneously complete a master's in statistics and earn a doctorate in marine ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She moved to Scripps Institution of Oceanography as a post-doctoral student and went on to work as a project scientist at Scripps.
“I am interested in determining whether or not ecosystems can continue to provide services — everything from shoreline protection to habitat for important fisheries — that people living along the coast rely upon,” Price said. "I grew up in New England, and my husband and I have been wanting to come back to the East Coast for a long time. Since Mainers are so invested in maintaining healthy marine systems, it makes Maine a great place to work and do applied science at a top-notch facility like Bigelow Laboratory."
Price and her husband, Bill Joyce, and their dog Murphy live in Edgecomb.