Scientist working with a lab instrument

Center for Aquatic Cytometry

The Center for Aquatic Cytometry uses innovative new technologies to advance the study of aquatic microbes and algae in marine and freshwater systems. It carries on a pioneering tradition for Bigelow Laboratory scientists who were the first to use a flow cytometer, initially used in medicine to count cancer cells, for aquatic research. Today, scientists from around the world use the Center for Aquatic Cytometry for the development of new applications and stains, routine cell counting, cell sorting, and environmental flow cytometric training. In-situ field samples can be analyzed on site and data sets compiled for long-term monitoring and assessment of environmental changes.

The Team

Nicole Poulton, Director Center for Aquatic Cytometry

Nicole Poulton, Ph.D.

Director Center for Aquatic Cytometry

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Nicole currently directs the Aquatic Cytometry Facility and is also a Research Scientist at Bigelow Laboratory. Nicole’s is a phytoplankton ecologist, and her research spans many areas of interest, including harmful algal blooms and the role of phytoplankton in the global carbon cycle. Her research uses aquatic cytometry and unique imaging tools to examine phytoplankton in the natural environment. She has over 20 years of flow cytometric experience in the aquatic sciences. Nicole received a BS and BA in 1993 in Biology and Chemistry from Virginia Tech, and a PhD in Biological Oceanography in 2001 from the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program. She joined Bigelow Laboratory in 2001 as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist and became a Research Scientist in 2008. Nicole is very active in education and outreach at Bigelow Laboratory and is also a Research Professor at Colby College and teaches a field course in the Fall Semester-in-residence program for Colby College Students.

Research associate Laura Lubelczyk working in lab.

Laura Lubelczyk

Research Associate

Laura received her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of New Hampshire in 1997 and worked in environmental and watershed education before transitioning to marine science and oceanography in 2010. Her research interests include plankton ecology, taxonomy and distribution.


  • Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
  • Center for Aquatic Cytometry
  • 60 Bigelow Drive
  • East Boothbay, Maine 04544
  • Phone: (207) 315-2567 x 513
  • Email: