The Bowdoin Scientific Station is perhaps best known for research on seabirds, especially gulls and storm-petrels. About 80,000 birds representing more than a hundred species have been banded on the island since 1935. Numerous investigations have focused on a variety of questions, including development, vocalizations, and navigation in storm-petrels; population dynamics and behavior of warblers, sparrows, and swallows; physiological ecology; life history evolution; diversity and distribution of island plants; marine and terrestrial invertebrate biology; and meteorology. More than 250 scientific papers have been published based on research at the Station (see list of publications from Kent Island). Researchers at the Station are encouraged to publish the results of their investigations in peer-reviewed journals with contribution numbers from the Bowdoin Scientific Station. Research activities are described in detail in the Annual Reports.
Although classes are not offered at the Station, the Station's core mission is to provide undergraduates with unique experience conducting their own mentored research for 9 weeks of the summer. Undergraduates comprise about half of the researchers at the Station, with faculty researchers plus a few graduate students making up the remainder. Informal research seminars are presented periodically during the summer.