Ahhh yes, what is The Son doing at MBL. It really has nothing to do with Marine life, but everything to do with biology. He's in a lab studying ants. Not ants exactly, but some bacteria which live inside of the cells of ants. And not really the bacteria so much as the DNA of those bacteria.
As I understand it - and I don't really - living inside the other cells makes the DNA of these bacteria interesting.Because it's inside the cell, there are certain ways it changes. For one thing, it is protected by the cell. Not because the cell is helping it, the cell is only protecting itself, but that inadvertently protects the bacteria. So the part of the DNA that would affect protection, isn't there. And there are other ways in which living in the cell makes the bacteria's DNA different, but I forget what they are. I seem to remember (though I could be wrong here) that the DNA chain is short. Or something.
But the point is, this is really basic science research, not with a specific goal in mind other than the accumulation of knowledge about DNA. And even though I don't understand it, I can see that it is quite interesting.