Coffee with the Director: Science-Supported Oyster Aquaculture in Maine.

Join Dr. Heather Leslie, Director of the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, Saturday morning, June 16, for coffee and a chat about the past, present and future of Maine’s oyster industry.

The hour-long event will celebrate the Damariscotta River oyster industry, its long-time connection to the DMC and continuing collaborations between growers and scientists.

Maine’s oyster aquaculture industry was spawned, literally, at the DMC. In the early 1970s, the DMC’s first flowing seawater laboratory was constructed and researchers received a substantial award from Sea Grant to develop cold water marine aquaculture. It was the graduate students and research technicians working on these early projects that eventually founded the businesses that now produce nationally lauded shellfish. Seven of the nine farms on the Damariscotta River have ties to the Darling Marine Center. 

Scientists and shellfish farmers continue to work together to solve today’s challenges. An ecologist with strong interests in the connections between ocean ecosystems and local economies, Leslie will highlight how she and other Darling Center scientists are contributing to growing understanding of how coastal ecosystems work, as well as the ways that individuals and communities are adapting to changing environmental and economic conditions. She’ll also reflect on how the DMC’s partnerships with the aquaculture industry and other marine businesses create opportunities for the next generation of marine scientists and professionals.

This event is offered as part of the Damariscotta Oyster Celebration, a three-day culinary event showcasing the oysters and growers of the Damariscotta River. In recognition of the importance of science in supporting sustainable aquaculture on the river – and particularly the foundational role of research conducted through the DMC – organizers will donate 10% of the proceeds from the Taste Maine’s Future dinner on Friday, June 15 to the Darling Marine Center.

Coffee with the Director will take place at 10:00 a.m. in Brooke Hall on the DMC’s lower waterfront campus in Walpole. The event is free and open to the public. We ask that participants preregister at