Spying on oceans with satellites, robots focus of DMC science on tap seminar

The Science on Tap Seminar series, sponsored by the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center (DMC), continues at the Newcastle Publick House, 6–7 p.m. on Wednesdays in July.

July 15, the free public seminar, “Spying on our oceans with satellites and robots,” will be presented by Mary Jane Perry.

The productivity of the oceans depends on tiny microscopic phytoplankton. While a phytoplankton cell is invisible to the naked eye, phytoplankton drifting in the water can be quantified with sensors on ships, robots and satellites in space. How optical sensors, robots and satellites are used to study phytoplankton will be the focus of Perry’s seminar.

Perry is a marine plankton ecologist who uses optics to study phytoplankton — the primary producers of the sea. She earned her Ph.D. at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1974. Since 1999, she has been a professor in the UMaine School of Marine Sciences and currently serves as interim director of DMC. Perry’s recent work has taken her to the subpolar North Atlantic to study the evolution of the spring bloom and to the Arctic Ocean to study the distribution and productivity of phytoplankton under the ice.

Science On Tap continues through July with talks by UMaine/DMC scientists. Upcoming talks will focus on the history of aquaculture in the Damariscotta River and novel marine biological studies being conducted at center.