Downeast Institute For Applied Marine Research And Education

Category: Education
Year of Last Grant Award:2015

The Harold Alfond Foundation partnered with the Downeast Institute, Maine’s easternmost marine research and education facility, to support construction of a residence facility now providing expanded programming to students, teachers, and visiting scientists.

More information as provided by our partner:

On Saturday, August 11, 2018, the Downeast Institute (DEI) celebrated the opening of its expanded facility in the Downeast town of Beals in front of a crowd of over 200 people.

The $6.6 million expansion to the public shellfish hatchery creates the easternmost marine research laboratory and education center in the U.S., greatly increasing marine research capacity and science education in this remote and natural resource dependent area of Maine. The expansion doubles the area available to raise commercially important shellfish such as soft-shell clams, scallops, oysters, Arctic surfclams, mussels, and razor clams for fisheries stock enhancement, as well as research and development.

DEI also built eight new specialty laboratories, five with running seawater along with a business incubator. The expansion also adds office space for staff, UMM faculty, and visiting scientists; a 50-seat conference room equipped with the latest technology for video conferencing; and a Visitor Center complete with a large educational marine touch tank.

In addition, an entirely new 4,500 ft  residence hall was built to expand access to DEI’s campus in this rural region. The residence hall provides accommodations for up to 20 UMM students, interns, and visiting scholars and includes seven bedrooms, two suites, a kitchen, dining area, laundry, internet, a common room and deck overlooking the ocean.

DEI’s facility expansion will increase our understanding of marine organisms and their environment and continue to improve the lives of Mainers through research, science education, and innovations in wild and cultured fisheries.

The organization that became DEI was founded in 1987 to address the decline of eastern Maine’s soft-shell clam populations by producing cultured juvenile clams to reseed clamflats. Since then, research produced by DEI has led to key scientific discoveries about commercial fisheries as well as technical solutions to problems facing shellfish fishermen and growers. Examples include the discovery that predation is the cause of the southern Maine soft-shell clam decline and the testing of different methods to protect clams from predators in the field to restore populations.

DEI serves as the University of Maine at Machias Marine Science Field Station and provides a research, educational, and conferencing facility for use by faculty, staff, and students. DEI hosts field labs for UMM science classes, and provides between 3-5 intensive internship opportunities for college students each summer. The expansion allows DEI to continue to grow its science education program which uses the scientific method to provide hands-on, relevant learning opportunities for k-12 students, teachers, and college students.

The Harold Alfond Foundation supported the expansion of DEI through a $1.8 million dollar capstone gift. The gift was announced in February 2017 at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum.

For more information about DEI go to:

  • Hatchery
  • Downeast Institute Expansion
  • Touch Tank
Hatchery Downeast Institute Expansion Touch Tank