The Schiller Coastal Studies Center's location on Orr's Island and access to the Gulf of Maine provides a sentinel site to understand the impact of a changing climate on Casco Bay’s coastal systems. 

Researchers in many scientific disciplines—from benthic and molecular ecology to evolutionary biology and paleoceanography—are able to pursue their work at the Center.

Research facilities include the marine "wet" lab, dry lab, and other waterfront amenities. The Center's site between Harpswell Sound and Long Cove, and in the Kennebec and New Meadows estuaries, provides many “natural labs,” including rocky intertidal zones, cobble beaches, and subtidal eelgrass.

Terrestrial scientists can take advantage of the Center’s 118 protected acres of fields, an old apple orchard, early successional communities, mature forests of red pine, cedar, and oak–pine, and a spruce–fir swamp.