EAST BOOTHBAY, Maine (AP) - The National Science Foundation is awarding a Maine marine science lab nearly $1.2 million to study the chemistry of the ocean.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King say the award will fund a Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences project about Sub-Antarctic Mode Water, which is an important water mass.

The senators say Sub-Antarctic Mode Water begins as cold surface water in the southern Indian Ocean, sinks to about 500 meters and travels for thousands of miles before resurfacing near the equator. The water mass is vitally important to plant and microbial life.

The senators say Bigelow is working on a project to examine the biogeochemical and physical conditioning of the water mass. The project will include a pair of expeditions to the southeast Indian Ocean.