UNE NORTH Executive Director Costa-Pierce in Iceland

Barry Antonio Costa-Pierce, Ph.D., FAAAS

Professor Emeritus

Professor Costa-Pierce has a 40+ year career in the marine and freshwater sciences. His overall research interest is in "Ocean Aquatic Food Systems": how seafood systems throughout the world interact with marine & freshwater ecosystems, fisheries, aquaculture, and people. He has worked internationally at research organizations in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. In the USA he has served at both state and private universities from Hawai'i to California, and from Minnesota to the Gulf Coast to Maine. Professor Costa-Pierce is one of the pioneers of "Ecological Aquaculture". He served on the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) team that developed FAO's "Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture" and has worked on its local to global implementation ever since. He served as an Editor & Editor-in-Chief of Aquaculture (Elsevier Science) for 20 years, retiring in 2018. Before joining UNE in 2012, he was the Director & Professor of Fisheries and Aquaculture at two NOAA Sea Grant College Programs: the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program at the University of Rhode Island (2001-2012) and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium based at the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (1998-2001). Professor Costa-Pierce was a co-PI of the 5-year, $20 million NSF UMaine EPSCoR Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET). In 2015, he was elected a AAAS Fellow. From 2017 to 2021, he was a Guest Professor & Advisor to the Swedish Mariculture Research Center (SWEMARC), and in 2108 he was awarded a Swedish Royal Academy of Agriculture & Forestry Knut & Alice Wallenberg Professorship at the University of Gothenburg (UGOT). He continues to serve as an Advisor to Sweden's national "Blue Foods Center"  In 2019, he became Chair of the University of the Arctic (UArctic) Thematic Network in Ocean Food Systems.



Ph.D., Oceanography
University of Hawai'i
M.S., Zoology
University of Vermont
B.A., Zoology
Drew University


  • Aquaculture
  • Aquatic social ecological systems
  • Fisheries
  • Marine ecology
  • Ocean food systems

Post-Doctoral Training

Post-Doctoral Training, United Energy Corporation
(Foster City, California)


Current research

My research explores the fields of "ocean food systems", "ecological aquaculture" and the FAO ecosystems approach to aquaculture. I am the leader of UNE's new OCEAN FOOD SYSTEMS Professional Science Master's Program at UNE which engage students in local to global, stakeholder-driven research. I am interested in the sustainability science of marine/freshwater ecosystems as they undergo aquaculture development, and use of the tools of social-ecologcal systems to study "seafood ecosystems" (combined fisheries and aquaculture and trade seafood ecosystems). I consider the fisheries and aquaculture sciences to be inseparable "pracademics" in that applied issues and problems of coastal places and peoples will lead to research outcomes that contribute not only to science achievements but also to practical problem-solving ("action research"), and leadership development. Therefore, all of my research inquiries, approaches, and activities are devoted to developing partnerships that are transdisciplinary and collaborative and done as much as possible in partnership teams across the natural and social sciences, governance/management/law, and engineering fields. I interact and learn from professionals in the human dimensions of marine/freshwater ecosystems and those with expertise in the environmental problems impacting human health and wellness. I was a co-PI on a 5-year (2014 to 2019), $20 mil NSF EPSCoR UMaine/UNE SEANET award to develop sustainable aquaculture in Maine. I am now a co-PI with the US Naval Academy (USNA) on a $1.3 mil Department of Energy MARINER award to develop seaweed aquaculture for energy and bioproducts. 

Selected publications

Costa-Pierce, B.A. 2021. The principles and practices of ecological aquaculture and the ecosystems approach to aquaculture.  World Aquaculture 52 (1): 25-31.

Jones, C.P., A.T. St. Gelais, C.J. Byron, B.A. Costa-Pierce, R.M. Smolowitz. 2021. A histopathological–biochemical health assessment of blue mussel Mytilus edulis. Journal of Shellfish Research 40(1) : 77-92

Theuerkauf, S., L. Barrett, H. Alleway, B.A. Costa-Pierce, A. St. Gelais and R. Jones. 2021, in press. Habitat value of bivalve shellfish & seaweed aquaculture for fish & invertebrates: pathways, synthesis & next steps. Reviews in Aquaculture

Both, A., C.J. Byron, B.A. Costa-Pierce, C.C. Parrish, and D.C. Brady. 2020. Detrital subsidies in the diet of Mytilus edulis; macroalgal detritus likely supplements essential fatty acids. Frontiers in Marine Science Frontiers in Marine Science 7: 1073  DOI=10.3389/fmars.2020.561073     

Fredriksson, D., T. Dewhurst, A. Drach, W. Beaver, A. St. Gelais, K. Johndrow and B.A. Costa-Pierce. 2020. Hydrodynamic Characteristics of a Full Scale Kelp Model for Aquaculture Applications. Aquacultural Engineering  90:

Costa-Pierce, B.A. and R. Langan. 2017. The global imperative to develop new models of open ocean aquaculture for accelerating large-scale food and energy production. In: B.H. Buck and R. Langan (eds.) Aquaculture Perspective for Multi-Use Sites in the Open Ocean. The Untapped Potential for Marine Resources in the Anthropocence. Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland.

St. Gelais, A.T., C. Aeppli, C. Burnell, and B.A. Costa-Pierce. 2017. Non-dioxin like polychlorinated biphenyl indictor congeners in Northwest Atlantic spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias). Marine Pollution Bulletin 120: 414-421.

Fonseca, T., B.A. Costa-Pierce, and W.C. Valenti. 2017. Lambari aquaculture as a means for the sustainable development of rural commnities in Brazil. Reviews in Fisheries and Science & Aquaculture 25 (4): 316-330.

B.A. Costa-Pierce. 2016. Ocean foods ecosystems for planetary survival in the Anthropocene, P. 301-320. In: E.M. Binder, Editor. World Nutrition Forum: Driving the Protein Economy. Erber AG, Austria, 368p.

St. Gelais, A.T. and B.A. Costa-Pierce. 2016. Mercury concentrations in Northwest Atlantic winter-caught, male spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias): A geographic mercury comparison and risk-reward framework for human consumption. Marine Pollution Bulletin 102: 199-205.

Filgueira, R. & 16 co-authors. 2015. An integrated ecosystem approach for assessing the potential role of cultivated bivalve shells as part of the carbon trading system. Marine Ecology Progress Series 518: 281–287.

Needles, L., S. Lester, R. Ambrose, A. Andren, M. Beyeler, M. Connor, J. Eckman, B. Costa-Pierce, S. Gaines, K. Lafferty, H. Lenihan, J. Parrish, M. Peterson, A. Scaroni, J. Weis, D. Wendt. 2015. Managing bay and estuarine ecosystems for multiple services. Estuaries and Coasts 38 (Supplement 1): 35-48.

Christou, P., R. Savin, B.A. Costa-Pierce, I. Misztal, and B. Whitelaw. 2013Sustainable Food Production. Springer Reference, N.Y. 1,865 p. in 3 volumes.

Byron, C.J. and B.A. Costa-Pierce. 2013. Carrying capacity tools for use in the implementation of an ecosystems approach to aquaculture, p. 87-102. In: L.G., Ross, T.C. Telfer, L. Falconer, D. Soto and J. Aguilar-Manjarrez, Editors. Site selection and carrying capacities for inland and coastal aquaculture. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Proceedings 21. FAO, Rome, Italy. 281 pp.

Ferreira, J., Ramos, L. & B.A. Costa-Pierce. 2013. Key drivers and issues surrounding carrying capacity and site selection, with emphasis on environmental components, p. 47-86. In: L.G., Ross, T.C. Telfer, L. Falconer, D. Soto and J. Aguilar-Manjarrez, Editors. Site selection and carrying capacities for inland and coastal aquaculture. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Proceedings 21. FAO, Rome, Italy. 281 pp.

Ross, L.G. and 29 co-authors. 2013. Carrying capacities and site selection within the Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture, p. 19-46. In: L.G. Ross et al. (eds.) Site selection and carrying capacity for inland and coastal aquaculture. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Proceedings 21. Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy. 281 pp.

Costa-Pierce, B.A. and G.G. Page. 2012. Sustainability science in aquaculture. In: Christou, P. et al. Editors. Sustainable Food Production. Springer Reference, N.Y. 1,865 p.

O’Beirn, F., C. McKindsey, T. Landry, and B.A. Costa-Pierce. 2012. Methods of sustainable shellfish aquaculture. In: Christou, P. et al. Editors. Sustainable Food Production. Springer Reference, N.Y. 1,865 p.

Rosenthal, H., B.A. Costa-Pierce, G. Krause, and B.H. Buck. 2012. Bremerhaven Declaration on the Future of Global Open Ocean Aquaculture. Part I: Preamble and Recommendations. Part II. Recommendations on Subject Areas and Justifications. AWI, Bremen, Germany.

Costa-Pierce, B.A. & 8 co-authors. 2012. Responsible use of resources for sustainable aquaculture, p. 113-148. In: R.P. Subasinghe & 7 Co-Eds. Farming the Waters for People and Food. Proceedings of the Global Conference on Aquaculture. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, and Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia (NACA), Bangkok. 896 pp.

Ferreira, J., L. Ramos, and B.A. Costa-Pierce. 2012. Key drivers and issues surrounding carrying capacity and site selection, with emphasis on environmental components. In: L.G. Ross et al. (Eds.) Site selection and carrying capacity for inland and coastal aquaculture. FAO Proceedings 21. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Rome, Italy.

Byron, C., J. Link, B.A. Costa-Pierce, D. Bengtson. 2011. Calculating ecological carrying capacity of shellfish aquaculture using mass-balance modeling: Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Ecological Modeling 222: 1743-1755.

Byron, C., D. Bengtson, B.A. Costa-Pierce, and J. Calanni. 2011. Integrating science into management: ecological carrying capacity of bivalve shellfish aquaculture. Marine Policy 35: 363-370.

Costa-Pierce, B.A. 2010. Sustainable ecological aquaculture systems: the need for a new social contract for aquaculture development. Marine Tech. Soc. Jor. 44(3): 1-25.

Costa-Pierce, B.A. 2008. An ecosystem approach to marine aquaculture: A global review, p. 81-116. In: Soto, D. et al. (eds). Building An Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Proceedings 14. Rome, Italy. 221p.

Soto, D. and 22 co-authors. 2008. Applying an ecosystem-based approach to aquaculture: principles, scales and some management measures, p. 15-36. In: Soto, D. et al. (eds). Building An Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Proceedings 14. Rome, Italy. 221p.

Other scholarly activity


2018-2019:  Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture & Forestry Knut & Alice Wallenberg Professor, University of Gothenburg, SWEDEN See the Keynote in Stockholm, Sweden for the Wallenberg Professorship March 21, 2019

2017:  Fulbright Specialist, University of Akureyri, Iceland

2016-2018:  Editor-in-Chief; 1998-2018: Editor, Aquaculture Production Science, Aquaculture (Elsevier Science, Amsterdam)  2018:  co-Chair, International Scientific Organzing Committee, "Recent Advances in Aquaculture Research", Qingdao, China  2015:  International Scientific Organizing Committee, "Cutting Edge Science in Aquaculture", Monpellier, France  2013:  Chair, International Scientific Organizing Committee, "40 Years of Aquaculture Science", Las Plamas, Canary Islands, Spain 

2012:  Sea Grant Association President’s Award "for leadership of the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program and his pioneering work in the fields of fisheries, aquaculture, and healthy coastal ecosystems for the Sea Grant Network.”  

2011:  Elected as AAAS Fellow for “distinguished contributions to global aquaculture and its sustainability and for leadership in marine research, education, and outreach as director of two NOAA-Sea Grant college programs.”  


Funded grants

CURRENT 2018-2022: $1,300,000: U.S. Department of Energy Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER), co-PI: “A Validated Fine Element Modeling Tool for Hydrodynamic Loading and Structural Analysis of Ocean-Deployed Macroalgae Farms”

CURRENT 2020-2022: NOK 374, 250 (~US$ 39,000): University of the Arctic/Norway, co-PI: “Network for Aquaculture Education in the Arctic”

PENDING 2021-2025: $36,165,671: NSF, Senior Personnel: “Mid-scale RI-2 Consortium: Implementation of a U.S. National Algal Genetic Resource Infrastructure”

PENDING 2021-2025: $9,800,000: USDA, PI: “Closed System Shellfish Consortium (CSSC)”

RECENT PAST 2014-2019: $20,000,000: NSF EPSCoR at UMaine, co-PI: “SEANET, The Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network”


Invited plenary presentation

2018: Invited Speaker, "Hawai'i nei as the Origin of Mariculture", Kaua'i Sea Farms, Kaua'i Community College, Lihue, Kaua'i, January 24, 2018

2018: Invited Speaker, "A Local to Global Partnership in Ocean Food Systems", Swedish Mariculture Research Center (SWEMARC), University of Gothenburg, Kristineburg, SWEDEN, February 9, 2018 

2018: Invited Speaker, "Opportunites for The Nature Conservancy in Ecological Aquaculture", Board of Directors, TNC Maine, March 27, 2108

2018: Keynote Speaker, "Ocean Foods System Priorities for Maine", Statewide EPSCoR Conference, University of Maine, Orono, ME, 30 May 2018

2018: Keynote Speaker, "Transdisciplinary ecosystems ecology of community-based kelp (Saccarhina latissima) aquaculture", Internationa Conference on Seaweeds, University of Gothenburg, SWEDEN, une 20, 2018 

2016: Keynote Speaker (Aquaculture Session), "Ocean Foods Ecosystems for Planetary Survival in the Anthropocene", World Nutrition Forum, Vancouver, CANADA, 12-15 October 2016

2016: Session Chair, "Cultivating Trans-Atlantic Ocean Foods Entrepreneurship through International Scientific and Educational Cooperation", and Invited Speaker, "New International Programs in Ocean Foods Ecosystems", Arctic Circle Assembly, Reykjavik, ICELAND

2016: Keynote Speaker, Opening of the Swedish Mariculture Research Center (SEWMARC), University of Gothenburg, SWEDEN

2016: Invited Speaker, How Climate Change is Reshaping Manie's Ocean Economy. Center for Global Humanities, University of New England, Portland, Maine, USA

2015: Invited Speaker, "The Emerging North Atlantic Seafood Ecosystem", Arctic Circle Assembly, Reykjavik, ICELAND

2015: Invited Speaker, "Ecological Aquaculture as a Vital, New, Applied Pracademic of Global Scholarship", 100th Anniversary Conference of the Ecological Society of America, Baltimore, MD

2015: Invited Speaker, "Ecological Aquaculture is the Only Way to Save the World's Last and Most Spectacular Terrestrial Ecosystems from Complete Destruction by Agriculture", Cutting Edge Science in Aquaculture, Le Corum, Montpellier, France

2015:  Invited Speaker, “Ocean Food Ecosystems”, Harvard Food Law Society and Food Literacy Project, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA

2014. Invited Speaker, “Fisheries-Aquaculture Ecosystems: Global to Local Interactions between Sustainable Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems”, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, CT

2014. Invited Speaker, "Fisheries and Aquaculture: An Artifical Divide", Maine Martime Academy, Castine, Maine.

2013. Keynote Speaker, “Fisheries-aquaculture for the restoration of ocean ecosystems: A review of interactions between sustainable fisheries, marine ecosystems and aquaculture”, Celebrating 40 Years of Global Aquaculture. Elsevier Science, Gran Canaria, Spain

2013. Invited Speaker, “Progress Towards a More Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture”, University of Maine Sustainability Science Program, Margret Chase Smith Policy Center, Orono, Maine

2012: Keynote Speaker, "Open Ocean Aquaculture Development. From Visions to Reality: The Future of Offshore Farming" Offshore Aquaculture Symposium, Alfred Wegener Institute for Marine and Polar Research and IMARE, Bremerhaven, Germany

2011: Invited Speaker, "The Future of Aquaculture", Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) Senior Leadership Retreat, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, December 7-8.

2011: Invited Speaker, The World Seafood Congress, Washington, DC.

2011: Keynote Speaker, International Conference on Marine Resources and Beyond, Institute for Marine Resources Gmbh, Bremerhaven, Germany

2011: Invited Speaker, National Land Grant/Sea Grant Water Conference, USDA and National Sea Grant College Program, Washington, D.C.

2010: Invited Speaker, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations: FAO Expert Workshop on Aquaculture Site Selection and Carrying Capacity Estimates for Inland and Coastal Waterbodies. Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling, U.K.

Research interests

Ocean Food Systems: how seafood systems throughout the world interact with fisheries, aquaculture, and people. Ecological Aquaculture: the transdisciplinary, social-ecological science of global to local aquatic/ocean food systems. Ecotoxicology: Mercury and persistant organic pollutants (POPs) in seafoods and their associated human and environmnetal risks; Marine ecology: acidification and pollution of marine nearshore ecosystems

Research topics

Aquaculture and Aquarium Sciences
Biological Oceanography
Climate Change
Community Development
Community-based Conservation
Educational Leadership
Fisheries Ecosystems
Invasive Species
Marine Conservation Ecology
Marine Entrepreneurship
Ocean Ecosystem Based Management
Science Pedagogy
Statistics and Experimental Designs