Student-led community science program to support shellfish management

Digging shellfish in mudflatSarah Risley, a UMaine graduate student in the School of Marine Sciences who is based at the Darling Marine Center, will lead a team of undergraduate and high school students on a new project funded by the Mitchell Center. The team will record the number, type and size of shellfish species at several sites along the upper Damariscotta River. They will also document local knowledge of the estuary held by fishermen and other residents. Together, this information will be used to estimate the number of shellfish on the flats and help inform future management decision-making. Questions and concerns raised by shellfish harvesters and others active in the estuary inspired this new program.

“We will work as a team of local scientists, students, educators, harvesters and municipal leaders to collect information on shellfish and document how the estuary is changing,” Sarah explained.

Sarah also worked to assess current and historical trends in shellfish resources in the Damariscotta and Medomak River estuaries as part of the Mitchell Center’s Strengthening Coastal Economies project.

Read the full Darling Marine Center news release here.