Community Invited to Participate in Shellfish Discussion at the Darling Marine Center

Interested community members are invited to join researchers and local students at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center for a conversation about emerging results of an ongoing community science program in the Damariscotta River estuary.

Building on several years of collaboration between the University, shellfish harvesters and Lincoln Academy, this summer local high school and undergraduate students are working together to study the shellfish resources of the upper Damariscotta River estuary. The research group has been quantifying the types and sizes of commercially valuable shellfish, including soft-shell clams and oysters, and their predators, specifically green crabs, at several intertidal sites in the upper estuary. Sites that are part of the study were identified in 2020 by shellfish harvesters through a participatory mapping and local knowledge study led by Sarah Risley and Melissa Britsch, UMaine graduate students based at the Darling Marine Center.

At this event in August student researchers will share their findings and invite feedback on the project to date and share future project goals. The conversation will focus on the results from the first full year of the community science program.  Harvesters, harbor and shellfish committee members, and other municipal leaders are particularly encouraged to attend.

Ultimately, the information collected by students will be used to assess changes in the populations of shellfish in the estuary and to support future management decisions by the joint Damariscotta-Newcastle Shellfish Committee in coordination with the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

This program is funded by local donors to the Darling Marine Center, a grant from the Broad Reach Fund to the Town of Damariscotta and a grant to the Darling Marine Center, Joint Shellfish Committee and Lincoln Academy, from the University of Maine Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday August 2 at the Louise Dean Library on the upper campus of the Darling Marine Center, located at 193 Clarks Cove Road, Walpole, ME. Refreshments will be provided, and all are welcome to attend.

Please contact Sarah Risley with questions at or at (207) 558-3195.

Founded in 1965, the Darling Marine Center’s mission is to connect people to the ocean. The Center’s researchers, staff and students work alongside fishermen, aquaculture entrepreneurs, marine industry professionals and other members of the community in Maine and around the world. More information is available at


Contacts: Matthew Norwood, 207.563.8220;; Sarah Risley