Faculty Research

Bowdoin faculty have identified four broad research themes that emcompass much of the research on marine and coastal issues currently underway.

Coastal and Marine Environmental Change

Many of the local ecosystems are recovering from the effects of overfishing and industrial pollution. Climate change and an increased human population are likely to have consequences for wildlife and the ecosystems on which they depend. By investigating coastal ecosystems over time, students will contribute to long term studies designed to provide vital information about ecosystem response to environmental change in Maine and the greater North Atlantic region, known as a bellwether for climate change.

Trevor Rivers, Doherty Marine Biology Postdoctoral Fellow, 2011-2012
Dan Thornhill, Doherty Marine Biology Postdoctoral Fellow, 2008-2011
Research Cruise, October 2009
Jonathan Allen, Doherty Marine Biology Postdoctoral Fellow, 2005-2008, summer visiting research 2008-2012
Bowdoin's involvement with Merrymeeting Bay
Merrymeeting Bay and Kennebec Estuary Research Project

Human Involvement in the Transformation of Coastal Landscapes

This research area will focus on human interaction in coastal environments and how cultures have shaped and reacted to environmental change through time. These studies will emphasize human adaptation, conflict and complementarity between cultural, social, economic and political perspectives that span a variety of coastal contexts. Faculty members have formed a partnership of independent and collaborative projects that focus on research exploring coastal places in Midcoast Maine, the Gulf of Maine, the Adriatic Seacoast, the central California seacoast, and the Baltic and North Atlantic seacoasts.
Anne Henshaw, Research Associate, Arctic Studies
Sarah McMahon, Associate Professor of History
Connie Chiang, Assistant Professor of History and Environmental Studies.
Matt Klingle, Assistant Professor of History and Environmental Studies.
Michael Kolster, Associate Professor of Art
A River Lost and Found: The Androscoggin in Time and Place, a collaborative project of Matthew Klinge and Michael Kolster
Susan Kaplan, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of Arctic Studies.

The Coast as a Place to Examine Perception and Perspective

The meeting of land and sea offers a rich array of contrasts and potentials for metaphoric and artistic study. Coastal locations give students opportunities to develop methods of engaging their senses and sharing those impressions through the written word, visual depictions, music, drama and dance. The Visual and Performing Arts faculty will contribute to the Institute for Coastal Studies through the implementation of projects that reflect the coast and complement other modes of inquiry.
James Mullen, Associate Professor of Art.
Davis Robinson, Associate Professor of Theater.
Michael Kolster, Assistant Professor of Art.

Coastal Fisheries and Marine Policy

Examining the nature and impact of invasive species and their relation to the physiology and ecology of marine organisms is of particular importance to the sustainability of Maine's coastal fisheries. Bowdoin's marine biologists are already studying the impact of invasive species on coastal ecosystems, as well as the impact of global warming. Government and economics faculty members would focus on better understanding the behaviors of individuals and communities who harvest or otherwise use coastal resources as well as the different regulatory and governance approaches to preserving the resource. The formation of effective policy regarding coastal resource management is pivotal to its preservation.
Amy Johnson, James R. & Helen Lee Billingsley Professor of Marine Biology.
Ellers Olaf, Biology Research Associate.
Guillermo Herrera, Assistant Professor of Economic.
Dewitt John, Shannon Director of Environmental Studies.