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Microscopic organisms known as plankton represent the majority of life in the ocean.
These tiny plants and animals form the base of the marine food web and play critical
roles in supporting healthy ocean ecosystems and modulating the Earth’s climate. Ben
will show stunning images of these remarkable microbes while discussing plankton’s
vital roles and the significant changes that are occurring as humans alter Earth’s
climate. He will also introduce guests to Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, a
nonprofit research institute in East Boothbay, Maine, that focuses on these Tiny Giants
and the fascinating world of microscopic sea life.

Dr. Benjamin Twining, Interim Executive Director and Senior Research Scientist
Ben Twining is Interim Executive Director and a Senior Research Scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences – a nonprofit research institute with 85 employees and a 60,000-square-foot LEED Platinum laboratory in East Boothbay, Maine. In his roles, Ben oversees Bigelow Laboratory’s mission to investigate the microbial drivers of global ocean processes through basic and applied research, education, and enterprise. In his previous role of Vice President for Research and Education, he developed the strategy for those programs at Bigelow Laboratory and led efforts such as the creation of a semester-in-residence program in partnership with Colby College.

Ben also leads the Trace Metal Biogeochemistry Laboratory at Bigelow, where he conducts research with his team on the interactions between trace metals (iron, zinc, manganese, and others) and aquatic organisms. Because of the important role plankton play in the distribution of many important elements in the ocean and as the base of most aquatic food webs, Ben has focused on studying iron cycling and the implications for metal accumulation in these microscopic marine organisms. Research cruises have taken Ben and members of his team along the California coastline, to Bermuda and the Indian Ocean, south to the Weddell Sea off Antarctica, and up to the North Pole.

Ben graduated from Stony Brook University with a Ph.D. in Coastal Oceanography and from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science and Public Policy. Before coming to Bigelow, Ben was an Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina and a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles, has been invited to speak around the country and internationally, and is currently funded by the National Science Foundation.


Thurs Nov 9 | 7:30pm