Easy access to saltwater—right at the Bigelow dock and on weekly daylong research cruises—is a given for students in a marine science program. But working on the Gulf of Maine gives Bigelow students and scientists a front-row seat in arguably the world’s best arena to study climate change in the marine environment. “With the Gulf of Maine warming faster than any other gulf in the world, the culmination of changes with respect to the microbiome give Bigelow scientists a unique opportunity to study climate change,” said Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Denise Bruesewitz.
On top of that, the lab has extraordinary historical data on which to base its study of the changing oceans. Bigelow’s namesake, oceanographer Henry Bryant Bigelow, made early 20th-century investigations of water samples in the gulf and built a body of data now recognized as the foundation of modern oceanography. The combination—one of the most thoroughly studied bodies of water, for its size, in the world showing some of the most-pronounced effects of climate change—presents unique opportunities for students and scientists.