Brian Beal

Contact Information

Phone: 207.255.1314

CV: Brian Beal CV 


Lab website: Link to Downeast Institute

Univ. of Maine at Machias
116 O’Brien Avenue
Machias, ME  04654


Ph.D. University of Maine


I am interested in the ecology and natural history of many commercial marine shellfish species here in eastern Maine.  This list includes, but is not limited to:  soft-shell clams (Mya arenaria), northern hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria), sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus), blue mussels (Mytilus edulis), European oysters (Ostrea edulis), mahogeny quahogs (Arctica islandica), Arctic surf clams (Mactromeris polynema), green sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis), and American lobsters (Homarus americanus).  I have cultured most of these species and have examined their growth and survival under field conditions in a variety of nearshore habitats in eastern Maine.

The research I conduct combines my interests in ecology and mariculture.  Many of the field experiments I have intitiated provide information about how to grow the species listed above as well as information on how these organisms interact with other species (predators and competitors).

In addition, I work with others to provide new economic and educational opportunities to the people of downeast and coastal Maine.  We have been able to create a 6,400 square-foot shellfish research and production center on 11-acres at a site on Great Wass Island (Black Duck Cove) in the town of Beals.  This center is owned and operated by a non-profit organization, the Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education, and it doubles as a marine field station for the University of Maine at Machias, where I have worked since May 1985.  Recently, two major infrastructural additions were made thanks to grants from the National Science Foundation and the Maine Technology Institute.  These were a 1,000 square-foot marine education center that serves as a wet-lab and classroom (with running seawater, white boards, microscopes, and storage shelving for glassware and other equipment), and a 30-ft x 100-ft pier constructed entirely of fiber composites.  This is an ideal site for docking vessels smaller than 45-ft to load and unload equipment and other supplies for research and/or teaching.  In addition to the classroom, pier, and shellfish research/production center, the property includes two 3-acre tidal impoundments that can be used as research mesocosms that can be modified to become intertidal or subtidal zones.

The goal is to create the easternmost marine research laboratory and education center in the United States at this setting that is approximately 25 miles from the UMaine Machias campus.  Plans have been completed to create a running seawater lab for ecology and biology projects, climate-controlled rooms for temperature-sensitive experiments, a clean lab for processing samples, and office space to accommodate up to five scientists.  This addition will cost $3.25 million upon completion.

To learn more about the activities at the marine field station and the Downeast Institute, visit