Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced today that the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $445,041 to Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay. The award will help fund a project titled, “Microbial Activity in the Crustal Deep Biosphere.”
“The health of our oceans is essential not only to Maine’s fishing industry, but to the entire global ecosystem,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “Although marine microbes are critical to supporting ocean life, much about these microorganisms remains unknown. This investment will support the efforts by the skilled scientists at Bigelow Laboratory to better comprehend how marine microbes are able to survive in harsh environments such as below the sea floor.”
This project seeks to improve scientists’ understanding of how life is able to survive under low-energy conditions. As part of the study, Bigelow’s team will embark on a two-week expedition to investigate the Juan de Fuca Ridge flank off the coast of Washington state. At the conclusion of the project, the researchers will provide public lectures and feature an interactive display of deep-sea video footage at the annual public open house at Bigelow Laboratory.