On a warm, sun-splashed late November afternoon, the view from Hodgkins Cove across Ipswich Bay is startlingly clear, the visibility so expansive and sharp that if you waved in the direction of Plum Island, someone just might wave back.
Inside the University of Massachusetts’ Large Pelagics Research Center, on a spit of land that juts out into the bay, the work quietly continued.
Scientists poured over data and testing equipment in advance of future experiments. It was simple, methodical work. Still, it has enabled the LPRC to carve out an international reputation for cutting-edge science in the study of bluefin tuna and other large, highly migratory pelagic species.
The calm, inside and outside the facility, was deceiving, however.
Storm clouds, at least figuratively, have been gathering, seeded by growing concerns about how much longer the center will be able to do its work in an environment of increased competition among researchers for rapidly diminishing funding.
“We’re in danger of closing,” said Molly Lutcavage, the center’s director and research professor. “We’re in jeopardy of shutting our doors in June 2014 due to lack of funding opportunities.”