Category Archives: Bowdoin Marine Laboratory

Kent Island and DEI field trip

To kick off the official start of the semester, the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester traveled to Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island for four days. Here, the group learned about tides and physical ocean processes, held a benthic ecology journal club, and collected data on two long-term intertidal monitoring sites.

We were also excited that the new Director of the BSS on Kent Island and Assistant Professor of Biology, Dr. Patricia Jones, joined us for the trip.

On the way home, we swung by our friends and collaborators’ at the Downeast Institute in Beal’s, ME, to learn about their research and collect some snails for a class project.

See our Bowdoin Academic Spotlight here:

Summer Research Spotlight – hungry, hungry green crabs

Summer 2017, two student research fellows – one Bowdoin student, one Barnard College student – delved into figuring out what invasive green crabs (Carcinus maenas) are eating in Harpswell Sound. Pauline Unietis (’20) and Vanessa Van Deusen (Barnard ’18) set crab traps at four locations around Harpswell sound every week. Crabs caught in these traps offer several types of data: a census of how many (and what sex) crabs are moving into these locations as the season progresses, stomach contents, and tissue. After measuring and counting crabs, Pauline and Vanessa extracted DNA from stomach contents to prepare for a next generation sequencing-based metabarcoding effort to ID different kinds of algae, plants, and animals eaten by the crabs. Future efforts will include compound stable isotope analysis of the crabs’ tissue (from a leg or claw) to figure out the relative proportions of their diet items.

Science Communication with Computational Genomics

This spring semester, Visiting Assistant Professor Sarah Kingston launched a Computational Genomics course. Students learned both statistical theory and practical applications involved with analysis of genome-scale data.

After the long process of independently analyzing and interpreting omic-scale datasets, students tapped their creative, collaborative talents with a final science communication piece.

Students Rob Barron, Eileen Bates, Steve Cho, and Julia Michels created this fantastic stop-motion video to communicate how genomic research can help conserve fish species.

Other creative projects included describing the role of long non-coding RNAs in cancer, microbial metagenomics and type II diabetes, gene expression-related health impacts of performance enhancing drugs, and microevolution in rapidly changing environments.

The final presentation even ended with interactive art (directed by students Nora Cullen, Pilar Giffenig, Sofi Lopez, Alana Luzzio, and Casey Silvernale).

Marine Science Semester Alums attend the 46th Benthic Ecology Meeting in Myrtle Beach, SC

Sam Walkes ’18, Aidan Coyle ’17, Dave, and Alana Luzzio “17 celebrate the success of the meeting.

Bowdoin had a wonderful showing at the Benthic Ecology Meeting/Southeastern Estuarine Research Society meeting hosted in Myrtle Beach, SC over the past week.

Bowdoin Marine Science Semester Alums presented their independent and honors research at the meeting:
Alana Luzzio ’17 spoke on linking genes, environment, and phenotype in Gulf of Maine clam species; Aidan Coyle ’17 talked on physiological and genetic differences between two types of invasive green crabs; and Sam Walkes ’18 presented a poster on adaptive coloration in a species of Gulf of Maine intertidal snail.

Aidan Coyle ’17and Sam Walkes ’18 meet acclaimed coral reef biologist Dr. Howard Lasker.

Director of Coastal Studies Center Dave Carlon presented work on movement of genes between invasive green crab lineages.

Aidan Coyle won the meeting-wide prize for best undergraduate student talk.

Aidan Coyle ’17 wins best undergrad student presentation.

BMSS 2016 Independent Project Symposium 12/16/16

Welcome and Introduction (2:15pm)
Session 1: The Intertidal (2:30pm)

Testing desiccation stresses and visual predation as mechanisms for maintaining a potential color polymorphism cline (Sam Walkes ’18)

Is the European Periwinkle invasion really from Europe? (Caroline Carter ’19)

Saving the snails: how feeding preferences of Carcinus maenas on Littorina littorea may determine the survival of Ilyanassa obsoleta (Meret Beutler ’19)

Predation of the softshell clam Mya arenaria by the nemertean worm Cerebratulus lacteus (Elizabeth Givens ’17)

Session 2: Aquaculture and Fisheries (3:45pm)

Does Mytilus edulis ingest and process the microplastics in Harpswell Sound?                 (Anna Blaustein ’19)

Finding an Easy and Efficient Method of Growing Microalgage for Biofuel: The Effect of Difference in Light and Nitrogen on Phaeodactylum tricornutum Lipid Production         (Maya Morduch-Toubman ’18)

Multiple Species Interactions in Harpswell Sound Lobster Traps (Isaac Schuchat ’19)

Session 3: Ocean Acidification and Environmental Change (4:45pm) 

Fundulus heteroclitus lateralization efficacy in response to rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification (Jonathan Harrison ’19)

The Effects of Climate Change Stressors on the Sea Star, Asterias forbesi, Regeneration (Amber Rock ’19)

The Effects of Ocean Acidification on Shell Resource and Assessment Behavior of Hermit Crab Pagarus longicarpus (Jackie Ricca ’19)

The Effects of Eutrophication and Oxygen Depletion on Bioluminescence in the Tropical Dinoflagellate Pyrocystis lunula (Ripley Mayfield ’19)

Bowdoin Marine Science Semester Concluding Remarks (5:45-6:00pm)

Holiday Reception to Follow (6:00-9:00pm)

From Baja to Hurricane Island

Warm thoughts on a cold day: The Bowdoin Marine Science Semester (BMSS) didn’t slow down upon return from the Kent Island Field Station. Biological Oceanography, taught by Coastal Studies Scholar Bobbie Lyons, was the first module undertaken. Closely on its heels, Marine Benthic Ecology followed, where the classroom shifted to more distant field locations. The first Benthic stop was the Sea of Cortez and Baja California, Sur. BMSS students and faculty spent 10 days in the field learning how to identify tropical fish and invertebrates to collect abundance data on newly installed transects. The data collected renders the first season of a long-term monitoring effort focused on reef communities. After the tropical adventure, the BMSS had a quick turnaround – back in the States only 24 hours – and swapped out shorts for warmer gear to head to Hurricane Island in Maine’s Penobscot Bay. Over the 4-day duration on Hurricane, the BMSS students and faculty conducted transect surveys of the rocky intertidal, took a lab practical focused on rocky intertidal organisms, and started an introduction to molecular ecology.


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#BMSS2016 observing Whale Sharks feeding in La Paz Bay #bowdoincollege

A post shared by Sarah Kingston (@scarletscience) on


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BMSS 2016 visits Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island

The Bowdoin Marine Science Semester (BMSS) kicked off the Fall 2016 semester by leaving the country on the first day of class. BMSS students and instructors visited Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island off Grand Manan, New Brunswick, Canada. Off-grid and 5 miles out to sea, students learned about the unique Bay of Fundy ecosystem, collected data for a long-term intertidal monitoring project, and collected Littorine snails for genomic analysis later in the semester.

arriving on Kent Island
arriving on Kent Island



Sheep Island
Sheep Island
whale stranding remains
whale stranding remains

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Jonah crabs hanging in the intertidal on Kent Island #BMSS2016 #bowdoincollege

A video posted by Sarah Kingston (@scarletscience) on

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setting up intertidal temperature data loggers
setting up intertidal temperature data loggers


Kent Island intertidal transects
Kent Island intertidal transects

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some post-dinner core work
some post-dinner core work
Littorina saxatilis on Kent Island
Littorina saxatilis on Kent Island

Green crab collection during #BMSS2016 field trip to Kent Island #bowdoincollege

A video posted by Sarah Kingston (@scarletscience) on

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