Ram Island, our own private one-acre living laboratory right in Saco Bay, will enhance and grow our world-class academic and research programs. The island and its surrounding waters are home to songbirds, harbor seals, and various intertidal flora and fauna, and planning is currently underway to develop infrastructure and programming that support our experiential teaching and research vision. In addition to developing a network of sentinel sites, an observatory and a small student-centered laboratory, UNE will be a steward of Ram Island, working to understand and document its terrestrial, intertidal and subtidal ecosystems.
Hands-on, experiential learning is already an essential part of UNE's approach to the marine sciences, but Ram Island will allow us to further elevate our field trip programs for students — and provide a student-centered living laboratory to assess, monitor and model. Project TURBO will use Ram Island and its surrounding ecosystems for enriching field experiences, and a variety of marine science courses ranging from population ecology to animal behavior will conduct lab activities there.
The Center for Excellence in Marine Sciences houses a variety of research projects and faculty labs, all of which can now utilize Ram Island and its adjacent ecosystems. Looking ahead, we aim to develop research partnerships that focus on the top-priority issues of Saco Bay, making Ram Island home to coastal zone investigations of climate change, marine geology, invasive species, marine mammal ecology and interactions with fisheries and marine aquaculture.
Ram Island means being part of an innovative university. It means having the opportunity to get the most out of my education and to be part of the important research that is happening in the 21st century. —Dylan Turner ’17