The CEMS Ocean Clusters are student-centered research-education work groups involving a variety of UNE departments, majors and external partners. Through these clusters, students are able to learn from faculty members, visiting thought leaders, and one another through hands-on, experiential research. 

Fisheries Ecology Cluster


The goal of the Fisheries Ecology Cluster is to foster interdisciplinary research on marine fishes that will be used to conserve biodiversity and maintain their populations in New England, with a special emphasis on fishes in the Gulf of Maine. Dr. James Sulikowski and his team of students work with scientists from several institutions on a variety of research projects involving these concepts.

Recirculating Aquaculture Systems Research Cluster

Adam St. Gelais, M.S.

The Recirculating Aquaculture Systems Research Cluster (RASR) conducts applied research in candidate species for recirculating aquaculture systems. RASR is currently focused on the culture of high-value steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), an exciting candidate species with existing hatchery facilities in Maine.

Aquaponics Cluster

Dr. Jeri Fox

In an aquaponics system, fish and plants are integrated into one system where both fish and plants can be harvested for consumption — the integration of hydroponics and aquaculture. The Aquaponics Cluster is currently raising rainbow trout and growing tomatoes, strawberries, basil and nasturtiums.

Molluscan Shell Cluster

Dr. Carrie Byron

The Molluscan Shell Cluster is equipped to maintain bivalve shellfish for research that advances sustainable aquaculture and food web science. Current research includes using stable isotopes of Carbon and Nitrogen to measure trophic fractionation between phytoplankton and filter feeding bivalves, such as oysters. This Ocean Cluster also supports a student-led initiative to spawn oysters.

Phytoplankton Production Cluster

Zachary Miller-Hope

The Phytoplankton Production Cluster explores large-scale cultivation of commercially-relevant strains of microalgae. The majority of strains being mass cultured are ubiquitously used in shellfish hatcheries due to their biochemical profiles of high proteins, lipids and fatty acids. These nutrients are essential for healthy reproduction and increase survival of juvenile shellfish. 

Macroalgae Nursery and Research Cluster


The Macroalgae Nursery and Research Cluster aims to facilitate applied macroalgae aquaculture research, serve as a regional hub for macroalgae seed available to commercial farmers and educate undergraduate students in macroalgae culture techniques.

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