Exhibits

Squids, Axons, and Action Potentials: Stories of Neurobiological Discovery
Looking for the alphabet of cellular communication in squid axonsIn the two connected sections of this exhibit, I’ll explore the history of this last fact: the history of our understanding of how neurons communicate with each other using chemical/electrical signals. Neurophysiology can be an intimidating subject to approach casually....
Visual Media in Embryology
Embryology has always been an intensely visual field. The study of embryogenesis—how individual cells move, communicate, die, band together, and push against one another—relies heavily on the production and close study of visual media.  Throughout the late-19th and 20th centuries, embryologists at the MBL created and engaged with...
Using Biodiversity
Biodiversity was one of Charles Otis Whitman’s main justifications for why one ought to do research at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) when it was founded in 1888. The variety of marine forms available in the Woods Hole region were used for many purposes over the years. This digital exhibit delves into the ways that the MBL acted...
Envisioning the MBL: Whitman’s Efforts to Create an Independent Institution
Charles Otis Whitman served as first director of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), from 1888-1910.  Whitman brought his graduate student, Frank Rattray Lillie, as his assistant. Lillie would go on to become the second – and long-term – director of the MBL.  Together Whitman and Lillie built the foundations of the MBL. They ordered...
Shinya Inoué: Capturing Dynamic Cellular Processes
Born in London in 1921, Shinya Inoué lived in China; Portland, Oregon; Sydney, Australia; and Japan, before moving to the United States in 1949.  Fortunately, in high school he met biologist Katsuma Dan who had spent time at the Marine Biological Laboratory and began a lifelong collaboration of the study of biophysics of living cells....
Collecting at the MBL
Research conducted at the Marine Biological Laboratory is dependent largely on one thing: marine organisms to be studied. The advantage of a laboratory by the seashore is the availability of marine specimens on which scientists can conduct biological research. In fact, organisms are so important to the MBL that when students first...
Cyclins at the MBL
The Marine Biological Laboratory has a long history with work on the cell cycle and its related processes and molecules. Marine species are chosen for much work in development and genetics due to the large amounts of eggs, sperm, and embryos they produce, the level at which we understand their DNA, and (for much of the early time at the...
Edmund Beecher Wilson
Edmund Beecher Wilson (1856-1939) carried out meticulous studies of cell lineage in marine organisms, including the annelid worm Nereis.  Much of that work took place at the Marine Biological Laboratory, where Wilson played important leadership roles and gained life-long friendships and collaborations.  He also spent his professional...
Goodrich, Hamburger, Schotte and Trinkaus in front of embryo diagrams
The MBL Embryology Course 1939
The Embryology Course began formally in 1893 and continues today.  Each year brings together leading developmental biologists and eager students from around the world to learn the latest ideas, techniques, and results. The 1930s was a lively time, with discussions of Hans Spemann's organizer idea, experimental techniques, and...
Cathy Norton
Catherine Norton, known as Cathy “Nawton” (when spoken with the lovely, rich, and classic Boston accent) had a life full of family, friends, and innovation. She was always up for trying new things, which led to her becoming a leader in developing digital library tools, skills, and approaches. She was an advocate for open access: sharing...
Viktor Hamburger and Experimental Embryology
Viktor Hamburger (1900-2001) was one of the most important and influential embryologists of the twentieth century. Educated in Germany under Hans Spemann at the University of Freiburg, as a graduate student Hamburger employed the techniques of embryonic tissue transplantation in amphibians that formed the laboratory’s basic research...
The Biological Bulletin
Published by the Marine Biological Laboratory, The Biological Bulletin seeks to disseminate novel scientific results in broadly related fields of biology in keeping with more than 100 years of a tradition of excellence. The Biological Bulletin publishes outstanding original research with an overarching goal of explaining how organisms...
Neurobiology of Vision
The Neurobiology of Vision at the MBL
ALL men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer seeing (one might say) to everything else....
Ecosystems Center 1975 to present poster
The Ecosystems Center (1975-present)
On January 1, 1975, the Ecosystems Center officially opened its doors and became the first year round center at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. Since it opened, the Ecosystems Center has become a nexus for ecological research, training, and education of young scientists.
John Philip Trinkaus
John Philip Trinkaus (1918-2003) studied the mechanism of gastrulation in Fundulus heteroclitus, for most of his career as an embryologist at Yale University. Although Trinkaus spent most of his summers as a researcher at the MBL working on Fundulus, he also contributed to numerous other areas in developmental biology. He published...
Alfred Huettner
Alfred Frances Huettner was a skilled embryologist who worked with Thomas Hunt Morgan and Edmund Beecher Wilson at Columbia University after an exciting early life as a photographer in South Dakota.  Huettner’s photographs from the lab at Columbia and in Woods Hole are among the finest images we have of those important scientific...
China at the MBL: 1920-1945
In 1920, the first Chinese student entered a course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Since then, thousands of Chinese scientists have passed through Woods Hole, leaving an indelible mark on the history of the MBL. The MBL, in return, has often had just as sizeable an impact on these students and...
Edwin Grant Conklin
Edwin Grant Conklin (1863-1952) carried out meticulous studies of cell lineage in marine organisms, including the slipper snail Crepidula.  Much of that work took place at the Marine Biological Laboratory, where Conklin played important leadership roles and gained life-long friendships and collaborations.