Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Research Equipment Attracts Dollars and Talent

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is truly one of Maine’s gems. Internationally recognized by the research community, this non-profit research institution studies oceans, coastal seas, and estuaries to discover the medical, commercial, and other benefits of marine microorganisms. There is a whole range of known benefits from these microorganisms, including fatty acids that can be converted to biofuels and compounds to be used in grain development. There is a vast area of research to discover the opportunities for commercial development.  $4.5 million from MTI’s Maine Technology Asset Fund (MTAF) program enabled the laboratory to accelerate the commercialization of its research.

The laboratory had leased cramped quarters in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine since its inception in 1974. Bold thinking by its board of trustees encouraged Bigelow to pursue funding to build a new, permanent home to support its research efforts and to drive its commitment to technology transfer. In addition to receiving $4.5 million from MTAF, the laboratory secured $4.975 million from the National Science Foundation, and a $9.1 million grant from National Institute of Standards and Technology to build a new 7,000-square-foot facility in East Boothbay.

In December 2012, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences officially opened its brand new Ocean Science and Education campus in East Boothbay. The Campus is made up of three centers and supports over 100 research scientists and staff. The centers include:

Bigelow Center for Blue Biotechnology (BCBB) – Research in the BCBB applies molecular biology and microbial ecology to the viruses, bacteria, and algae living throughout the world’s oceans in order to understand their evolution, genetic and chemical make-up, and their culture and industrial application. The BCBB houses the world’s first microbial single cell genomics facility, a state-of-the-art flow cytometry laboratory, a bioreactor facility, and the national Center for Culture of Marine Phytoplankton and has increased the Lab’s capacity to partner with industry.

Center for Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate Change – Research conducted here addresses questions of ocean biogeochemistry and climate change at many scales, from local to global, and from individual cells to entire ocean basins.

Center for Ocean HealthThis center studies a critical component of ocean ecosystems, namely the contribution of microbial communities and marine viruses to ecology and food supply for fisheries, as well as their role in the harmful algal blooms and marine pathogens that impact ocean health and productivity.

Since its opening in late 2012, the Ocean Science Campus has generated tens of millions in financial and economic impact activity in the State of Maine. 85% of those funds are spent in Maine, primarily in rural Lincoln County.


Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
60 Bigelow Drive
PO Box 380
East Boothbay, ME 04533