We make our home on Star Island, the second largest of the group of nine rocky islands called the Isles of Shoals lying nearly ten miles southeast of the mouth of the Piscataqua River. Our collaborators include the Blue Ocean Society, Seacoast Science Center and Shoals Marine Laboratory (on Appledore Island, the largest of the Shoals). Our aim is to promote education about New Hampshire and Maine’s coastal ecosystems and how our human community can better live in balance with these important waters.
The lab offers science education for all ages from the perspective of an island community looking reflectively and critically at our culture and the future it is choosing. Each week the laboratory staff lead geology, botany, billy-goat (on the rocks), low-tide and bird walks. Some of the visitors we see and collect include fish like the Atlantic Mackerel, Longhorn Sculpin, Pollock, and Monkfish; birds such as Eider Ducks, Common/Roseate Terns, and cormorants; and invertebrates like Green Crabs, Frilled Sea Anenomes, lobster, and Northern Sea Stars.
Students who visit the lab have taken part in examining the coastal benthic community utilizing fouling plates, investigating microscopic views of owl pellets and sea stars, and experiential exhibits and demonstrations of fundamental Earth science. Hands-on experiments with solar ovens to dry sea weed, mushroom growth and a live fishing weir keeps our students excited about coming back to visit Star Island again!
– Our main attraction is a 1,000-gallon “Gulf of Maine: Rocky Coastline” tank
– We also feature a touch tank where visitors can experience marine animals first-hand
– An “Intertidal Zone” tank simulates the zonation of the seashore that characterizes our region
– In our “Blue Mussel Habitat” we recreate one of the Island’s most prolific ecosystems
– A microscope station with attached television makes it simple for children to examine insects, owl pellets, microscopic organisms and sediment cores
– Arts and crafts for children of all ages
– A library collection for loan to conferees and staff
– Fishing, beach and diving equipment for loan to conferees and staff
– Terrariums and exhibits containing and explaining Island ecosystems
– Outdoor tanks so you can drop off marine visitors when we’re not home