– Our Facility –

Opportunities for Scientists

DEI offers researchers immediate access to deep ocean, vast intertidal areas and state of the art labs and support facilities. Located on an island archipelago amid the distinctive Eastern Maine Coastal Current, our 16 acre campus is designed to serve the marine science community.

Research Facilities

Center For Shellfish Production & Research:

  • 15,000 sq. ft. research hatchery with tanks, running seawater, microalgae culture, and proven systems for spawning and rearing shellfish and other marine invertebrates
  • Experienced hatchery research assistants on site 7 days a week to help plan and implement shellfish production protocols
  • Environmentally controlled spaces for boreal species
  • Electronic controls for temperature, oxygen, salinity and other water quality variables, and an emergency power-generating back-up system

Lab Spaces:

  • Ocean Acidification Lab can be controlled for a specific pH or saturation state of calcium or aragonite to determine effects on shell formation in shellfish
  • Ecology Seawater Lab 1,000 sq. ft. wet lab for behavioral and pre-field studies and other tank-based marine science research; tanks of multiple sizes are available as well as seawater and air drop-downs
  • Three dry labs each with equipment and space for up to four; for processing, preserving, storing and examining samples as well as other bench-work
  • Business Incubator — 300 sq. ft. private area for proprietary or other research requiring physical segregation, also with running water, tanks, and air drop-downs
  • Quarantine Lab — 80 sq. ft. lab for holding or conducting research on non-native or other marine species that need biological segregation; can also be temperature controlled between 34° and 85° F
Marine science research at the Hatchery at Downeast Institute
Downeast Institute Hatchery(Photo by Chris Cary of NEOC)
Classroom space at Downeast Institute(Photo by Chris Cary of the NEOC)

Support Spaces:

  • Classroom with videoconferencing, running seawater and floor drains
  • Cold storage served by a loading dock
  • Private and shared offices
  • A 50-seat conference room equipped for videoconferencing and space for serving food

View a floor plan of the lab facilities (COMING SOON)

Additional Research Support Facilities:

  • Milton L. Beal Memorial Sulking Shed And Marine Sample Processing Lab a specially designed, heated and equipped wet space with 14 stations for processing benthic core and other marine samples
  • Two tidal impoundments provide 1 and 1.5 hectares of ocean water in which tidal levels can be manipulated to serve as research mesocosms
  • 30 x 100-ft pier constructed of fiber composite piling and a concrete deck
  • Service Building & Fabrication Shop a 2,800 sq. ft. building for fabricating research units, and storing tools and equipment
  • Evelyn Hall dorm style housing for researchers and grad students, as well as undergraduates attending programs at DEI
  • DEI Guest House shared long term housing for interns and other guests
Aerial View of Downeast Institute
Downeast Institute on Great Wass Island, Beals, Maine
  • 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
Rocky intertidal at Downeast Institute
DEI’s rocky shoreline and intertidal is a perfect location for field studies.(Photo by Chris Cary of the NEOC)


DEI is on Black Duck Cove, adjacent to Western Bay, in the Gulf of Maine. Our campus is on Great Wass Island which is in the town of Beals and is surrounded by dozens of smaller islands. Our islands host twice-daily tides that expose the most expansive flats and rocky shores on the eastern seaboard. DEI’s campus includes approximately four hectares of an adjacent rocky intertidal zone that features upper and lower shore tidal pools and dozens of species of attached macroalgae and invertebrates that are typical of the colder waters along the downeast coast. The lack of any industrial or residential inputs such as nitrogen, phosphates, and other nutrients that contribute to eutrophic conditions, as well as the interactions of the Bay of Fundy and Scotian Shelf (Eastern Maine Coastal Current) make DEI an ideal location for cold water marine research.

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