Kennebunkport student conducted Arctic research

Peter V.R. Tilney, a Bates College senior from Kennebunkport, recently returned from a month-long thesis research project aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Polar Sea in the Arctic Ocean.

Tilney, an interdisciplinary major in geology and biology, boarded the 399-foot icebreaker in Nome, Alaska, with William Ambrose, assistant professor of biology at Bates, and classmate Melissa Grable of Wilmette, Ill. Tilney was among a party of five scientists whose objective was to determine if early- season plant material attached to the ice reaches the sea floor and serves as food for sea floor-based organisms. Tilney observed ice algae on the sea floor with footage provided by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and collected samples from the Arctic Ocean floor using the box coring technique. This was the first time an ROV was deployed from a U.S. Coast Guard ship in western Arctic waters. Tilney’s research will be the basis for his senior thesis, which he is preparing through the summer in Carnegie Science Hall laboratories at Bates.

Tilney’s travel expenses and summer research stipend have been funded in part by a $14,500 grant awarded to Ambrose by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for the enhancement of Bates’s science programs.

A dean’s list student and president of the Bates College Outing Club, Tilney graduated from the Groton School in Groton, Mass. He is the son of Philip and Ellen Tilney of Kennebunkport.

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