The Ecosystem Investigation Network supports field-based, collaborative research into the climate-driven changes happening in the Gulf of Maine and its watershed.

Our goal is to bring these stories of change together to reveal new understanding of patterns, change, and connectedness across our region.

About the Ecosystem Investigation Network


The Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Ecosystem Investigation Network supports field-based collaborative research into the climate-driven changes happening in the Gulf of Maine and its watershed. The Network includes locally and regionally focused projects designed to engage participants in rewarding work and generate scientific data and understanding. This Network is designed to be a resource for scientists and communities who are designing projects to engage all kinds of people in collecting and considering data to reveal new patterns and new understanding of how climate change is impacting our region’s species, communities, and habitats. It is our hope that what we uncover together gives us all a better understanding of how climate change impacts a regional watershed system.

Our history

Since 2002 the Gulf of Maine Research Institute has been exploring ways to create an support effective collaboration among scientists and the public. Vital Signs was born from the question of what might we all learn by seeing bodies of water through the eyes of scientists, of fishermen, and of youth.

This vision evolved over the next years, becoming one of the first citizen science projects that deliberately engaged education audiences and delivered useful data to scientists. In 2009 we launched a fully web-based program focused on giving kids an experience with data and evidence, and giving scientists and state resource managers first pass data on the presence and absences of invasive species in habitats across the State of Maine. Vital Signs provided teachers with professional development opportunities, standards-aligned curriculum, and a collection of Field Missions from which to choose. In a decade, over 200 Maine educators participated in the program, and thousands of young scientists made observations of the presence and absence of invasive and native species, sharing their evidence and reasoning with some two dozen scientists.

Through these years, our practice evolved again, this time towards richer research questions that provided students with truer opportunities to engage the full arc of scientific investigations. Projects naturally tilted towards exploring the impact of climate change on species and communities. As the urgency of these explorations grew, our ambitions did as well.

With essential support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, we designed the Ecosystem Investigation Network to serve all kinds of people. This platform is complemented by tools that can help scientists or communities design projects to address their priorities, deliver good science, and create meaningful and satisfying experiences to those who participate. We’ve left the political boundaries of Maine behind, and are moving into the more ecologically significant Gulf of Maine Watershed. We’re focused on questions that explore the impacts of climate change -- in corners or across our region of interest. And we’re intent on partnering with the organizations and people throughout this region who share our interest in characterizing and more deeply understanding how our corner of the globe is changing today and into the future.

If you are interested in creating a project on the Ecosystem Investigation Network, please contact us.

Ecosystem Investigation Network Team


Sheba Brown

GMRI Community Science Program Manager

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Meggie Harvey

GMRI Program Manager, Community Science in Education

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Abigail Long

GMRI Community Science Coordinator

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Gayle Bowness

GMRI Coastal Resilience Program Manager

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Riley Young Morse

GMRI Ocean Data Products Program Manager

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Alex Kerney

GMRI Web Application Developer

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About the Gulf of Maine watershed

The Gulf of Maine watershed -- an area that encompasses part or all of three US states and portions of three Canadian provinces -- is the land area that drains into the Gulf of Maine. Rain falling anywhere in this 69,000 square mile area eventually makes its way into the Gulf of Maine. Changes in habitats, species, communities, and land care practices in this region all influence the Gulf of Maine.

About the Gulf of Maine watershed