Research Seed Grants to Marine Biological Lab

The grants are part of the University’s relatively new co-affiliation with the Marine Biology Lab

By Isaac Easton

The University recently began offering Research Seed Grants to University professors interested in pursuing research at the Marine Biological Lab (MBL) in Woods Hole, MA, as part of an initiative to strengthen ties between the newly affiliated institutions. The MBL and the University officially became affiliated in 2013, and these grants, offering $25,000 in funding money, are meant to spark collaboration that will be built upon as time goes on.

One proposal recently approved for funding is “Quantifying Cuttlefish Camouflage,” conducted by Stephanie Palmer of UChicago and Roger Hanlon of MBL. With the $25,000 her lab received, Palmer has purchased two terabytes of data to store images of the cuttlefish whose camouflage she is trying to study. “A great thing about this new partnership,” Palmer said about the Research Seed Grants, “is that it goes both ways, so MBL researchers can choose a University of Chicago faculty member they want to collaborate with as well.”

The MBL has a  historical connection to the University. It opened in 1888 as a summer-only institution and its first two directors were University faculty. In 2013, the University reestablished its ties with the MBL and has recently set up programs for students as well, including a study abroad–type program where non-biology majors can fulfill the bio requirement by studying whales during fall quarter at the MBL. This past summer, some UChicago students interested in the new affiliation embarked upon on a Metcalf fellowship to the MBL.

The University plans to establish more opportunities for both students and faculty to make use of this facility in the future

—Isaac Easton