Letter from the Director

The Schiller Coastal Studies Center is geographically centered on a former farm, consisting of 118 acres of coastal spruce-pine forest with a few acres of old field habitat. Our accessible location and diversity of natural habitats open up a wide range of marine, estuarine, and terrestrial research and teaching possibilities.
Dave Carlon
Dave Carlon, director of the Schiller Coastal Studies Center

As the director of the Schiller Coastal Studies Center (SCSC), my job is to facilitate an expansion of research and teaching programs. Our growth will require new infrastructure and instrumentation. I am working with the Bowdoin administration, faculty, and staff on a strategic plan that includes a new “dry” teaching and research building, new housing, and new instrumentation to monitor climate change. We will begin work increasing the capabilities of our wet lab and building our small boat program. Our short history includes outstanding research from our Bowdoin community and friends from other institutions (see our list of publications). I would like to build on this intellectual platform and grow the breadth and depth of the research and teaching activities anchored by the SCSC by recruiting new researchers and new students from Bowdoin and beyond.

The SCSC has an outstanding geographical and ecological position for understanding the biological impacts of climate change. We are located within the Gulf of Maine ecosystem, a historically cold and productive body of water that has undergone a recent warming. Our coastal location and 8-kilometer shoreline on Harpswell Sound provide immediate access to tidally driven coastal and estuarine habitats, predicted to uniquely respond to increased warming due to high productivity and close linkages with terrestrial systems. Speaking of land, our peninsula on Orr’s Island includes 118 acres of mostly spruce-pine forest, and I am strongly encouraging new courses and research that can capitalize on these natural resources. For example, Jenny Davidson, a research associate at Bowdoin is organizing a project with the National Phenology Network that will use community volunteers to document how forest trees are responding to warmer temperatures. I hope to attract other new research projects and courses that capitalize on our environmental strengths.

Come visit us on Orr’s Island to tour the facilities and see our stunning linkages between land and sea.