Beginning in the summer of 2021, Downeast Institute began a Climate Change Seminar Series to highlight research being conducted to better understand how the marine environment is changing, current impacts and findings, and future predictions for Maine fisheries, the economy, and our communities.

On July 28 we hosted Dr. Rick Wahle, Director of the Lobster Institute and Professor at the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine, to speak to our community about, “Looking back and looking ahead: the Gulf of Maine’s lobster fishery in a warming ocean”.

Dr. Wahle is the founder of the American Lobster Settlement Index (ALSI), which has measured the annual pulse of lobster recruitment in New England and Atlantic Canada annually since 1989.

In this seminar Dr. Wahle explains what the data tells us about the changes that have occurred in the lobster fishery and predictions for the future as the Gulf of Maine continues to warm.

Our first seminar, held on July 8, 2021, explored the effects of ocean acidification and warming on early life stage soft-shell clams and Atlantic Surf clams.

  • Dr. Robert Holmberg (Downeast Institute) provided an overview of ocean acidification (OA) and detailed his research on OA and warming impacts on mortality, shell size, and shape of soft-shell clams as well as preliminary results from a laboratory experiment that examined the effects of adding crushed oyster shell to intertidal sediments on carbonate chemistry. He also spoke about monitoring of intertidal sediment porewater chemistry taking place throughout the clam settlement and growing period at the Beals sites of the Clam Recruitment Monitoring Network and in South Portland.
  • Ray Czaja (Stony Brook University) spoke about his efforts to determine Atlantic surf clams’ response to OA and warming oceans in terms of survival, growth, feeding, swimming, and predicting dispersal and settlement, and the process of building a model that will help scientists and managers understand how climate change will affect the Atlantic surf clam fishery.

Watch a video of the seminar below:

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