– Our Facility –

Opportunities for Scientists

DEI’s marine laboratory serves the research interests of scientists who are interested in learning about and understanding the relationships between marine organisms and their environment. The Institute’s pristine, coldwater location, unique oceanographic features, and state-of-the-art venue provides exceptional capacity for scientists and their teams.


Our 16 acre campus offers a range of research capacity and opportunities for scientists.

Main Facility

Center for Shellfish Production & Research:

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

Three Dry Laboratories:

  • Sample Processing Lab: For use in examining live and preserved samples taken from the field or the seawater laboratory
  • Dry Lab: An area for using scientific equipment like balances, microscopes, and thermal cyclers
  • Clean Lab: For using special equipment like centrifuges and freezers

Two Wet Laboratories

  • Ecology Seawater Lab: This 1,000 sq. ft. room is used for behavioral and pre-field studies. It holds multiple tanks of varying sizes, along with seawater and air drop downs.
  • Business Incubator: A 300 sq. ft. private area with running seawater and room for tanks of various sizes for use by individuals who may be working on proprietary ideas.

Three Climate Controlled Laboratories:

Each of the labs below are 80 sq. ft and allow control of seawater temperatures to examine the effects of global climate change on marine species.
  • Quarantine Lab: Used to conduct research on non-native or other species that need biological segregation, it is equipped with a system to control seawater sanitation and outflow.
  • Climate Control Lab: For research on the effects of varying seawater temperature on marine organisms. Temperatures can be adjusted between 34° and 85° F.
  • Ocean Acidification Lab: This lab allows for setting at a particular pH or saturation state of calcium or aragonite to determine how those levels affect shell formation in shellfish.

Administrative & Support Space

  • Six offices
  • A reception center (with 1,500-gallon marine touch tank)
  • A 50-seat conference room equipped for videoconferencing and space for food preparation
  • Cold storage served by a loading dock

View a floor plan of the main facility.

Additional Facilities

Milton L. Beal Memorial Sulking Shed and Marine Sample Processing Lab

  • 31-ft x 18.5-ft heated building positioned next to our Wildflower Lane tidal impoundment
  • Fourteen 3-ft x 3-ft stations for processing benthic core and other marine samples

Two research mesocosms

  • Two tidal impoundments (1 and 1.5-hectares)


  • 30 x 100-ft pier constructed of fiber composite piling and a concrete deck

Service Building & Fabrication Shop

  • 2,800 sq. ft. building for fabricating research units, and storing tools and equipment

Evelyn Hall

  • Housing for adults and students

View the Downeast Institute’s fee schedule.


DEI is adjacent to Western Bay and overlooks a pristine shoreline and coast with Cadillac Mountain 40 miles to the west visible on all but the foggiest days. The deep, cold water, rocky shore, and dozens of nearby islands create, perhaps, the most ideal place in the northeast U.S. to conduct coldwater marine research due to the lack of any industrial or residential inputs such as nitrogen, phosphates, and other nutrients that, in many other coastal locations, contribute to eutrophic conditions. Scientists can investigate interactions of the Bay of Fundy and Scotian Shelf (Eastern Maine Coastal Current).

In addition, the area hosts twice-daily tides that expose the most expansive flats and rocky shores on the eastern seaboard. On our campus there are 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.

DEI’s rocky shoreline and intertidal is a perfect location for field studies. Photo by Chris Cary of the NEOC.

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