DEI 30th Anniversary Logo

Downeast Institute has an unexpected and unique opportunity to purchase 10 acres of land adjacent to our campus on Great Wass Island.  If we are able to raise the funds necessary to purchase the land we will be able to offer affordable housing for our employees, and host more students and visiting researchers, while ensuring existing uses of the shoreline that support the marine economy continues. Read more in this Bangor Daily News article.

You can help by donating or contacting Dianne Tilton, 207-259-5039 or

Downeast Institute’s Marine Research Laboratory, Hatchery and Education Center is located on the easternmost coast of Maine. We host scientists, educators, entrepreneurs and others at our campus on an island archipelago with vast intertidal areas and deep ocean water. We proudly serve as the Marine Science Field Station for the University of Maine at Machias.

DEI’s mission is to improve the quality of life for the people of downeast and coastal Maine through marine research, marine science education, and innovations in wild and cultured fisheries.

Soft-shell clam research at Downeast Institute

Groundbreaking Discoveries

At the Downeast Institute (DEI), research on marine invertebrates is enriched by direct access to cold and deep ocean water, unique oceanographic features and vast intertidal areas for field work. Our marine research hatchery staff specialize in creating and advancing production techniques to support field and laboratory research. Our facility is designed to offer flexible space for experimentation and includes flow-through seawater. DEI’s discoveries over the past 30 years have advanced shellfish hatchery technology, increased knowledge of the marine environment, and continue to provide credible scientific information to policymakers, harvesters, and communities.


Marine Education

DEI ignites students’ enthusiasm for science by conducting hands-on lessons about the marine environment in our Education Center and in the field.  We provide exceptional experiential education for K-12 students, professional development for teachers,  and research opportunities for college students and faculty through our role as the University of Maine at Machias Marine Science Field Station.

experiential education at Downeast Institute, marine science field station
Applied Marine Research at Downeast Institute

Fisheries Innovation

DEI’s historic focus applied marine research has helped us generate knowledge and technology needed to help fisheries adapt to a changing marine environment and create new aquaculture opportunities for fishermen and other entrepreneurs to strengthen our marine economy. Applied and basic research, as well as invertebrate aquaculture R&D, can be conducted at our facility.


  • With the rocky intertidal and Gulf of Maine outside your door, acres of coastal habitat, well-equipped field laboratories, comfortable dormitory-style accommodation, fully accessible internet, and helpful staff, the DEI offers an exceptional opportunity to spend time concentrating without distraction.

    Dr. Sandra Shumway University of Connecticut
  • I got so much from my DEI research experience.  The institution is unique because the buildings are designed to house an extensive public shellfish hatchery as well as marine science research and teaching facilities.  But even more important are the talented and hard-working staff who were always there to help.

    John Commito Emeritus Professor of Environmental Studies, Gettysburg College
  • Having the opportunity to have access to DEI to do my undergraduate research project was a pivotal moment in my scientific career because it gave me my first real opportunity to do field and lab based ecological research.

    Danielle Haulsee Post-Doc, Stanford University
  • Working at DEI was a wonderful experience. Taking responsibility for an experiment as an undergraduate gave me a taste of 'real' science and a strong foundation for future research.

    Sara Coleman Coastal (bivalve) Scientist, The Nature Conservancy
  • [It was so important to] have the infrastructure and the direct access to marine life provided by DEI, especially since we attended a land-locked college. We were able to step out of the lab, collect our samples, and return immediately to a lab space with running seawater.

    Tasha Gownaris Post Doc, University of Washington
  • I strongly recommend DEI as a cutting edge research institute with leadership and staff that strive to effectively and cooperatively work with aquaculture farmers to understand and solve problems vital to their businesses and the industry.

    Peter Stocks Owner, The Maine Scallop Company
  • The staff at DEI are as enthusiastic as they are experienced, and they helped make my DEI research go smoothly, leading to several publications on the spatial ecology and predator avoidance behavior of blue mussels, Mytilus edulis.

    John Commito Emeritus Professor of Environmental Studies, Gettysburg College
  • The DEI team was helpful and flexible and provided us with any space or equipment we needed, including access to the facility at any hour.  This experience helped me to feel like a "real scientist", and led to my first publications.

    Tasha Gownaris Post Doc, University of Washington

U.S.A.’s Easternmost Marine Research Laboratory and Education Center

DEI Proudly Serves As The Marine Science Field Station For The University Of Maine At Machias

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