Former PIE outreach coordinator, Robert Buchsbaum, recieved the 2023 Gulf of Maine Visionary Award

Congratulations to Robert Buchsbaum on receiving the 2023 Gulf of Maine Visionary Award from The Gulf of Maine Council, presented by Lisa Engler from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. Robert was honored for his outstanding contributions to the conservation and protection of natural resources in the Gulf of Maine. As Conservation Scientist for the Massachusetts Audubon Society from 1987 through 2019, Robert provided leadership on conservation issues throughout the state. As one of the founders of identifying the ‘Great Marsh’ as a connected system, Robert was instrumental in laying the groundwork to designate the Great Marsh Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). This unique ecosystem includes 25,500 acres of barrier beaches, dunes, salt marshes, and water bodies and is the home of hundreds of species, especially birds. As an avid ornithologist, Robert helped advance knowledge and protection for the 2900-acre Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, an important site on the Atlantic Flyway Migration route where over 60 bird species breed. As a leader in conservation research, he studied topics such as nutrient cycling in coastal marine habitats, the decline of seagrasses along the Massachusetts coast, sources of bacterial pollution in coastal waters, and the effect of invasive species on salt marsh ecosystems. His research has helped expand our understanding of how climate change and human activities affect wetlands and other New England habitats. Robert recently retired as the PIE outreach coordinator and continues to volunteer in his community where he serves as Vice Chair of the Beverly Conservation Commission.



Remembering Liz Duff, our Friend and Colleague













The entire PIE-LTER community mourns the tragic loss of Liz Duff, our Education Coordinator and long time friend and colleague who died May 15.  Liz was a passionate educator and environmentalist.  There was nothing she loved better than being in the field with her students, teaching them about the marsh and how to protect it.  She has been the education coordinator of the PIE LTER since our very beginning and made a tremendous contribution to our program.  She always made sure we did not forget that education was a critical part of our mission.  All of us will miss her greatly.  Her obituary, and ways to honor her memory can be found at






MBL SciShoots: Earthday and Ecosystems - YouTube video
April 22, 2020, In a special Earth Day edition of #MBLSciShoots, scientists from the MBL Ecosystems Center talk about Earth Day, the decades-long research happening in coastal wetlands and the Arctic tundra, and take you on a guided tour of the National Climate Assessment!



PIE LTER Open House - Celebrating the Great Marsh and its Watersheds

October 7, 2019, scientists from Plum Island Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research, Marine Biological Laboratory Ecosystems Center, and Essex County Greenbelt host a family-friendly open house that celebrates the Great Marsh as a local treasure, while offering information and research findings about the Marsh and its connection to its watersheds. See PIE LTER Open House Announcement.


Beaver Pond CrowdMapping

This project was conceived as part of a graduate research fellowship awarded to Chris Whitney, a PhD student at the University of New Hampshire. This research project aims to understand the role that beaver ponds and other freshwater (fluvial) wetlands have on surface water quality.
For more info on helping map beaver activity in the Parker and Ipswich watersheds go to PIEBeaverPonds CrowdMap. Also check out the Parker and Ipswich River Watershed Beaver Activity web site for additional background information and maps.


Shell Day, Coastal Acidification
PIE LTER on August 22, 2019, participated in Shell Day, a Northeast Coastal Acidification Network (NECAN) cooperative project with 57 other organizations sampling coastal waters in the Northeast, USA, to help develop a relationship between salinity and alkalinity which can be used for determining carbonate saturation state and local vulnerability to acidification.

James Nelson named Early-Career Research Fellow by National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Congratulations to Dr. James Nelson @jnelsonPhD, Assistant Professor of Biology, on being named one of only 20 Early-Career Research Fellows by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine. Nelson studies the effects of river diversions on coastal animals.

Why This Invasive Plant Has A Shot At Some Redemption Source, WBUR-FM Online - Nov 27, 2018
Discussions with some PIE LTER scientists about the invasive marsh plant, Phragmites australis (Common Reed).


Salt Marsh Science and Seaside Stewardship
Salt Marsh Science, PIE LTER's schoolyard project, is enhanced by additional schoolyard activities led by Mass Audubon staff including the Perrenial Pepperweed Control Project and Seeking Relief from Sea Level Rise Student Mapping and Leadership Initiative. To learn about all these inspiring initiatives, click here for video.


Save Our Stream
New! PIE LTER Schoolyard Book Series Book
by Colin Polsky, Jane Tucker and Julia Miner
Available November 15, 2017,     ISBN-13: 978-1630763220
One summer morning, Annie and her brother Bradley venture down to a nearby stream to play, but find the water murky and devoid of frogs and minnows. They hear a splashing sound behind them, and are startled to see......


21st Annual Coastal Science Conference, organized by Mass Audubon's Salt Marsh Science Project.
The conference was held at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge headquarters on Plum Island, November 16, 2017. Students from 7 schools in Northeastern Massachusetts presented projects and some included using new mobile app tools, see Students use new tools on old salt marsh to study new problems


PIE-LTER Education Representative Featured on Boston’s NPR WBUR 90.9 Climate Change in MA Series. This summer, 2017, Boston Public Radio has been doing a series focused on climate change in Massachusetts.  Liz Duff, Educator for the PIE-LTER Schoolyard program, was featured in this series, speaking about the importance of local salt marshes, and the risk they face with rising sea levels. To hear the North Shore Salt Marshes Play a Key Environmental Role interview go to:

Summer 2017 PIE-LTER Scientists and Educators partner with Museum Institute for Teaching Science to offer Course for Middle and High SchoolTeachers:
Research and Resiliency: Investigating the Local Effects of Global Changes.   How are human activities impacting our planet’s climate, water cycle, and the balance and distribution of species and ecosystems? How are PIE-LTER scientists investigating these questions in Massachusetts, and what steps are citizens taking to help have a more positive impact? Middle School and High School teachers will have the opportunity to investigate these questions this summer as part of a course.
To register for the course go to: 2017-summer-professional-development-institutes-north-shore-region/

On the North Shore, Educators Explore Changing Ecosystems with the Museum Institute for Teaching Science
During July 2016, teachers from Massachusetts middle and high schools participated in the 2016 Summer Professional Development Institute, Research and Resiliency: Exploring the Ways Local Ecosystems are Responding to Global Change.
This summer institute, held at Ipswich High School, was a collaborative effort of Mass Audubon’s Endicott Wildlife Sanctuary, Plum Island Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research (LTER), the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Ipswich River Watershed Association and Boston University.


Data Nuggets - are classroom activities, co-designed by graduate students and teachers, which give students practice interpreting quantitative information and making claims based on evidence. PIE LTER contributes to Data Nuggets, check them out for ideas for classroom activities in the Plum Island area, PIE Data Nuggets.


NSF Science Nation Special Report, September 8, 2014
Plum Island Estuary: Studying how marshes respond to sea-level rise


Landcover data for 26 towns associated with Clark University holmes project (HERO object-based Lawn Mapping Exploration of Suburbia), a subgroup of the HERO project which conducts .45 meter resolution mapping of the Plum Island Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research Site.

Onshore-Offshore Surficial Geologic Map of the Newburyport East and Northern Half of the Ipswich Quadrangles, Massachusetts.
MSG Geologic Map GM 13-01 By Christopher J. Hein, Duncan M. Fitzgerald, Walter A, Barnhardt and Byron D. Stone, 2013.


Danger in the Reeds: The Great Marsh Classroom with Liz Duff and Lori LaFrance. Follow students participating in the PIE-LTER schoolyard “Salt Marsh Science Project” with Mass Audubon Education Coordinator, Liz Duff.  Ipswich High School Students learn about tidal restrictions, which alter the flow of salt and fresh water and have a major effect on the conditions which can favor the growth of the invasive reed Phragmites. Students present their findings at Mass Audubon’s  17th  annual Coastal Science Conference.  Filmed by Rick Hydren of Staddles Productions.

“Done by Noon!” A Tribute to Anne Giblin After Her Election as AAAS Fellow
MBL senior scientist Anne Giblin was recently named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.



Renovations Begin at Marshview Field Station
The Ecosystems Center was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Field Station and Marine Laboratory renovation grant to improve our Marshview Field Station which is the field site of the (PIE-LTER) project.

PIE LTER creates field guide using Encyclopedia of Life
Samantha Bond and Samuel Kelsey collaborate with Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) to create a field guide for organisms associated with PIE LTER research.


Reaching New Heights to Measure CO2
Anne Giblin, postdoctoral scientist Inke Forbrich and other PIE LTER research staff have built a 40-foot instrumentation tower at the Plum Island Long Term Ecological Research site in northern Massachusetts to allow them to make year-round measurements of net ecosystem carbon exchange.


Nutrients Causing Salt Marshes to Disintegrate
A long-term, large-scale study of salt marsh landscapes in an undeveloped coastline section of the Plum Island Estuary in Massachusetts has shown that nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus can cause salt-marsh loss.
Deegan LA, Johnson DS, Warren RS, Peterson BJ, Fleeger JW, Fagherazzi S, and Wolheim WM


Bruce Peterson Wins A.C. Redfield Award for Career Achievements in Aquatic Science
The award honors the career achievements of an aquatic scientist whose work is recognized for its importance and long-term influence. Dr. Peterson is being honored for “innovative and transformative studies of carbon, nutrient, and water cycles at process, ecosystem, and global scales.”