Sorting benthic infauna samples in the lab

Base of LiftUp unit used during system evaluation

Applied research

MER periodically engages in applied research within its areas of expertise.  Following an algal bloom in Maquoit Bay, Brunswick, Maine in 1988, Chris Heinig co-authored a paper with Dan Campbell, of Bigelow Laboratories for Ocean Sciences and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that presented a possible explanation for the bloom that resulted in clam mortalities in a section of one of the most productive shellfish growing areas in Casco Bay.  Also related to the soft-shell clam, Mya arenaria, industry, Chris served as lead for a team of researchers in an economic analysis of the clam industry in Casco Bay.  

Based on reports from lobster fishermen in Casco Bay that lobsters apparently were failing to return to historically productive soft-bottom areas of the bay, MER conducted a study in 2005, funded by the Maine Department of Marine Resources, to determine the potential link between declining sediment quality and reduced lobster density

Responding to a need to investigate possible alternative methods for reducing waste discharge from salmon net-pen systems in lower current velocity areas, MER conducted a research project funded by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Saltonstall-Kennedy (S-K) program to evaluate the applicability of Lift-Up, a Norwegian-designed fish mortality collection and retrieval system, as a waste feed recovery measure following modification of the bottom of the net-pen. 

Based on our experience with environmental monitoring of finfish cage systems, MER evaluated the applicability of redox and sulfide measurements and their associated standards as applied through the General Permit for Salmon Aquaculture in Maine, based on data collected as part of the standard monitoring program between 2003 and 2006. MER has also done extensive work on the recovery of the benthic habitat and community following cessation of operations at salmon farm sites in Maine .