At College of the Atlantic, students have been developing protocols for measuring the pH on clamflats, and comparing different meters to see which ones are the most precise, and this fall will measure pH on several flats in Bar Harbor. One student, Katie O’Brien, has also buried clam pre-weighed clam at three different sites in look at rate of weight loss of shells as a measurement of the potential threat to clam growth from low pH on clamflats. Those clams are being collected in October and if the technique shows promise, the study will be expanded next year.
A team of researchers led by the University of Maine (UMaine) and the University of New Hampshire (UNH) will conduct a three-year study of the many factors affecting the health of their shared coastal ecosystem. This collaboration, funded by a $6 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), aims to strengthen the scientific basis for decision making related to the management of recreational beaches and shellfish harvesting. This research is a direct outgrowth of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI), supported by the NSF EPSCoR program.
The project, titled the New England SusTainability Consortium (NEST), is managed by the EPSCoR programs at UMaine and UNH in partnership with College of the Atlantic, University of New England, University of Southern Maine, Great Bay Community College, Plymouth State University, and Keene State College. In Maine, researchers will also collaborate with several state agencies and other stakeholders, including the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), Maine State Department of Education (DOE), and Maine Healthy Beaches (MHB). There are currently plans to have one intern from COA work on mudflat conservation issues this summer, this work is funded through COA as part of NEST. The student will work throughout the bay, and will coordinate efforts with the 610 project.