Brian F. Beal | Director of Research at the Downeast Institute + Professor of Marine Ecology at the University of Maine at Machias

Brian F. Beal has played a pivotal role in enhancing Maine’s marine economy since the 1980s. In 1986 his work was instrumental in instituting Maine’s first lobster hatchery, and in 1987 he helped to create Maine’s first public clam hatchery. More recently, Beal helped open the easternmost marine research laboratory and education center in the United States, on Great Wass Island in Beals. The research and education facility is part of the Downeast Institute, an organization dedicated to improving downeast and coastal Mainers’ quality of life through marine research and marine science education. Beal is the director of research at the Downeast Institute and a professor of marine ecology at the University of Maine at Machias, and he shares his knowledge with a wide variety of people, including teachers and their students (ranging from kindergarteners to high school seniors) and clammers, fishers, and fishery managers. Beal’s applied research not only has scientific ramifications, it also has significance for the local economy and workforce, such as a recent study of soft-shell clam survival rates. “The study answered interesting theoretical questions about the ecology of soft-shell clam juveniles,” Beal says, “while at the same time it answered a very applied question that communities would have if they are trying to enhance clamming stocks in their flats.”

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