Summer 2021 Newsletter

Message from the Director

Gayle Zydlewski in a kayakSummer is a time when tourists and seasonal residents often come, relax, eat good food, meet good people, and get a glimpse of “the way life should be.” But, as summer draws to a close, I realized I see our state’s slogan year-round. It’s reflected in the ethic and resilience of our coastal communities and our partners. Your continued and enduring commitment to the responsible use and conservation of our coastal resources is an inspiration. And the Maine Sea Grant Team is right there by your side. Together, we strive to tackle and prepare for issues of concern to our coastal communities. That collaboration and coexistence genuinely reminds me of the way life should be.

Enjoy this newsletter, and please reach out with your thoughts on how we can best work with you to support our coastal communities.

General Updates

Elisabeth Maxwell at the wheel of a boat on the seaMaine Sea Grant welcomes communications team member

Please join us in welcoming Elisabeth Maxwell to Maine Sea Grant as a temporary communications specialist. Elisabeth previously worked as the assistant coordinator for the Signs of the Seasons program. Welcome back, Elisabeth!

Congratulations to Maine Sea Grant Undergraduate Scholarship in Marine Sciences recipients

Twelve students from Maine-based colleges and universities have received the 2021 Maine Sea Grant Undergraduate Scholarship in Marine Sciences. Scholarship recipients will join a statewide network of undergraduate scholars doing exemplary academic work on marine and coastal issues.

Collage of student faces feature image
Top row (L-R): Ben Lafreniere, Antonia Kotliarov, Bailey Tausen, Izzy Descoteaux. Middle row (L-R): Haley Kent, Jessica Kemp, Phoebe Churney, Madison Bailey. Bottom row (L-R): Sneha Suresh, Brian Will, Montana Benning, David Carter.


Deadline approaches for fall Program Development proposals

Each year, Maine Sea Grant allocates part of its budget for Program Development funds in order to support small research and proof-of-concept projects with the intent of seeding an idea for later development into larger funding proposals. Other credible uses of these funds include extension, education, communications, travel, graduate student support, and workshops or conferences. For more information about eligibility, visit the Maine Sea Grant website. Proposals for fall awards are due October 1, 2021. We are migrating to an electronic platform for project submissions. As such, details and guidance for submitting will be forthcoming. 

Extension and Community Engagement 

Aquaculture in Shared Waters hosts celebration for women in Maine’s aquaculture industry

Women from Maine’s aquaculture sector — local sea farmers, researchers, industry members, and government employees — gathered for an online networking event hosted by the Maine Sea Grant-supported Aquaculture in Shared Waters (AQSW) program. Organized by women in the industry for women in the industry, the virtual happy hour provided space for attendees to build relationships, share stories, and celebrate one another. 

Maine Oyster Trail reimagined

Four people smiling and holding out oysters to eat on a boatMarine Extension Associates Jaclyn Robidoux and Heather Sadusky worked with partners at the Maine Aquaculture Association to modernize the Maine Oyster Trail experience. The Maine Oyster Trail is now an interactive guide and tourism initiative that helps consumers discover “the way oysters should be.” The Trail invites visitors and locals alike to discover Maine’s coast and oyster regions through farm tours, shucking lessons, community events, raw bars, and opportunities to purchase oysters directly from farmers.

Education and Workforce Development

Finding phytoplankton and finding myself

Tessa Rock, a University of New England undergraduate and a 2020 Maine Sea Grant Undergraduate Scholarship in Marine Sciences recipient, shares her journey from student to aquatic researcher. Her research asks whether tidal stages affect the abundance of phytoplankton in Biddeford Pool.

Exploring the unknown 

UMaine graduate Mattie Rodrigue credits the Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship with taking her career to new and exciting depths. As Science Program Lead at OceanX, Mattie frequents one of the world’s last unexplored frontiers. 

View of a manned submersible taken underwater.


Maine Sea Grant is involved with and supports the work of various collaborations throughout the state and in the region.

American Lobster Initiative

The American Lobster Initiative (ALI) supports scientific research to understand physical and chemical changes affecting American lobster and a four-year extension effort, coordinated by Maine Sea Grant, to facilitate partnerships, communication and collaboration among the lobster industry, management agencies and lobster scientists throughout the region.

How the American lobster is dealing with a changing environment

American lobsters are resilient, but they are experiencing rapid changes to their ocean environment. The full effects of these changes are unknown. In an effort to pull together the latest published research, the ALI’s Northeast Regional Lobster Extension Project Coordinator, Amalia Harrington, and Sea Grant colleagues at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Massachusetts Institute of Technology explain how changes in ocean temperature affect lobsters at different life stages in this multimedia StoryMap.

Collaborative Chats series to return this fall

Maine Sea Grant, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, and the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute will again host a series of webinars focusing on collaborative research efforts in the lobster industry. The series will start in October and run through early 2022. Keep an eye out for upcoming dates on the ALI Events page. To watch recordings of last year’s Collaborative Chats conversations, visit the ALI website

Alliance for Maine’s Marine Economy

The Alliance, a responsive network dedicated to the growth of a vibrant marine economy for Maine, is coordinated by a Marine Extension Team member. Maine Sea Grant is excited to share the Alliance’s work with you. 

Alliance hosts virtual cooking demonstrations

The Alliance completed four virtual stops along their seafood cooking tour of Maine: cold cracked lobster (April 29th), sea scallops (May 27th), oysters (June 24th), and Atlantic salmon (August 27). Chef Rob Dumas led the culinary adventures alongside the trail-blazing fishermen and farmers behind the innovative seafood products. Participants saw how Alliance investments in new technologies, equipment, and infrastructure are transforming Maine’s marine economy. You can watch the demonstrations on Maine Sea Grant’s Facebook page.  More stops are coming soon in September and October!

Maine Aquaculture Hub

The Maine Aquaculture Hub was formed to help the aquaculture industry in Maine overcome barriers to growth. Maine Sea Grant is a founding partner, and remains actively involved in the Hub’s Steering Committee. 

Stay up to date with the Hub

Interested in hearing about Hub activities? Sign up for its quarterly newsletter to stay abreast of Aquaculture in Shared Waters programs, progress on the 10-year roadmap report, and funding opportunities.

In the News

    • Marine Extension Associate Dana Morse shares his expertise in a New York Times article about sea scallop aquaculture.
    • ABC Channel 8 News covered the relaunch of the Maine Oyster Trail and National Geographic highlighted it in an article about sustainable aquaculture.
    • Director Gayle Zydlewski’s research was highlighted in a Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors article about great white sharks.
    • The Sea Grant Seaweed Hub, supported by Jaclyn Robidoux, was highlighted in The Economist.
    • The Portland Press Herald and Ellsworth American covered Maine Sea Grant-funded research to help develop food safety handling guidelines for edible seaweed.
    • The Working Waterfront detailed an American Lobster Initiative research project looking at the social and economic resilience of the lobster industry.
    • The Bangor Daily News quoted Marine Extension Associate Dana Morse in an article about the seasonality of Maine seafood.
    • Marine Extension Associate Chris Bartlett was mentioned in a Bangor Daily News article about bird watching in Eastport, Maine.

Mark Your Calendars 

Tune in to WERU Community Radio (89.9 in Blue Hill and 99.9 in Bangor) from 4:00 to 5:00 PM the fourth Friday of each month for Coastal Conversations, a public affairs program hosted by Marine Extension Associate Natalie Springuel that explores current issues facing Maine’s coastal communities through conversations with people who live, work, and play on our coast.