Welcome to Plum Island Ecosystems LTER

The Plum Island Ecosystems LTER (PIE LTER) located in northeastern Massachusetts is an integrated research, education and outreach program with the goal of developing a predictive understanding of the long-term response of watershed and estuarine ecosystems to changes in climate, land use and sea level and to apply this knowledge to the wise management and development of policy to protect the natural resources of the coastal zone.

PIE LTER research is focused in the estuary and watersheds of Plum Island Sound in northeastern Massachusetts.  The estuary is fed by the Ipswich, Rowley and Parker Rivers with a combined drainage basin of 609km2.  The Plum Island Sound estuary is a coastal plain, bar-built estuary with extensive areas of productive tidal marshes: the largest expanse of intertidal marsh in the Northeast.

PIE LTER is administered by The Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA . PIE is a member of the US Long Term Ecological Research Network funded by the National Science Foundation's Long Term Ecological Research Program.

Scale matters

Example of storm event flood in a suburban headwater stream (Burlington MA), showing how storm flood waters go over bankfull, deposit sand, and scour the riparian zone clear of leaf litter. Peak storm flow had occurred prior this picture being taken (Wollheim photo). More information...

Tipping Points

Results of bioassay experiments showing the end-of-season standing biomass of S. alterniflora vs relative elevation at Plum Island (photo Morris). More information...

Salinity & Nitrogen

An aerial view of the Parker River Estuary (photo Hopkinson). More information...

Modeling Microbial Chemistry

Microcosm experiments are being used to test theories about how natural microbial communities contribute to and define environmental chemistry. (photo Vallino). More information...

Spatially-Explicit Fish Movements

Because the restoration of anadromous fish attracts interest of the coastal community, river herring can serve as a focus for watershed restoration activities. (photo Holly Frank) More information...



PIE LTER Field Guide

PIE field guide (courtesy of EOL)

Tides, Plum Island Sound (south end)

Near real-time Weather and Water Quality

PIE LTER Weather- Marshview Farm, Newbury, MA
PIE LTER Wind - Ipswich Bay Yacht Club, Ipswich, MA
PIE LTER Water Level - Ipswich Bay Yacht Club
PIE LTER Water Quality - Ipswich Bay Yacht Club