Information for Researchers

 All researchers funded by or associated with the Plum Island Ecosystems (PIE) LTER as an investigator, postdoc, student, collaborator, or staff researcher must follow the policies described below. In short, the requirements are to register annually with PIE and submit data and metadata for publication. Full details for these requirements are below.


Quick Links


Principles of Community

Principles of Operation and Governance

PIE Housing Calendar

Boat & Housing Request Form

Field Station User Guide

Boating Guide

Float Plan Guide

Field Safety Plan Template

Incident Reporting and Resource Flow Chart

Metadata Template

PIE LTER Data and Metadata Best Practices

Principles of Community

The PIE LTER includes investigators, staff, and students from many different institutions. Much of the research for PIE and related projects takes place in the field where investigators and students are away from their home institutions. Therefore, it is important that we all share common values and agree to a common set of Principles of Community to foster the best possible working and learning environment. Adopting these principles helps assure that we are all committed to promoting and maintaining a culture that supports every person in an atmosphere of mutual respect, cooperation, professionalism, and fairness. This requires awareness and active participation by every member of our community. Anyone using PIE facilities or interacting with members of the PIE team is expected to practice and adhere to these basic principles, both as individuals and in groups.



All researchers affiliated with PIE are required to Register annually, regardless if you plan to visit PIE. The information we collect is used for mandatory NSF annual reporting. The emergency contact information section is optional unless you plan to use PIE housing or boating facilities. All non-MBL researchers are required to read and acknowledge the MBL Unlawful Harassment Policy and MBL Risk Waiver.


Field Safety

All groups are responsible for their own safety in the field. Groups should complete a field safety plan before leaving and group leaders should have emergency contact information, knowledge of medical issues, and a first aid kit. A field safety plan serves as a tool to document your hazard assessment, communication plan, emergency procedures, and training. This plan should identify hazards, as well as precautions and actions taken to address and mitigate those hazards. As you complete your plan, be mindful in considering the unique safety concerns that can apply to individuals with marginalized racial, sexual, and gender identities. In some cases, a single plan for the season may be sufficient. In other cases, you may need to have a number of plans for different locations or operations. This plan does not cover the requirements you must follow when using PIE boats. Please see the below for the MBL boating policy and float plan requirements.

PIE provides this field safety plan template, which includes important local information, to help you create your own field safety plan. This template is for a full, detailed plan, but you may also want to consider creating a short "quick guide" for easy reference to the most important information (quick guide template).



If you are visiting PIE and would like to request housing, please check housing availability on the PIE Housing Calendar and complete the Boat & Housing Request Form. Housing is available on a first-come, first-serve basis, with priority going to PIE LTER staff and projects. Housing assignments will appear on the Housing Calendar once approved.

PIE has two housing facilities available, the Marshview Farm and the Rowley Field House, which are able to sleep up to 21 people combined. Bedrooms are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please note that all visitors must provide their own sheets, linens and towels. For more information, download the Field Station User Guide.

Marshview Farm, 297 Newburyport Turnpike, Newbury, MA 01951 (get directions in Google Maps)
Rowley Field House, 95 Railroad Avenue, Rowley, MA 01969 (get directions in Google Maps)

Download driving directions



PIE has two boats that are available to use: the Growler, an 18' MariTime Skiff with 90HP Honda, and the Stein, a 16' Tracker Jon boat with 25HP Mercury. Priority usage goes to PIE LTER projects.

All new personnel operating a PIE boat need to

  1. Read the MBL Boating Policy. Note that field station boat use may differ slightly.
  2. Read the MBL Boating Manual.
  3. Complete an online boating course and send a copy of the certificate of completion to Sam Kelsey at
  4. Schedule and complete a field checkout with Sam Kelsey
  5. Receive confirmation from Sam Kelsey that you are a certified boat user

Approved boating courses:

The boats are available by reservation only and priority usage goes to PIE LTER projects. To check if the boat is available, use the PIE Calendar. To reserve a boat, fill out the Boating & Housing Request Form. Last-minute reservations are available if the boat is not in use. If the boat is in use during the day you would like to use it, reach out to the person who reserved it or Sam to see if sharing the boat is possible.

All boat users must make a float plan prior to departure. A float plan consists of documentation about the details of your trip and designates a shore contact who is aware of your plans and responsible for checking in if you lose communication. You should let your shore contact know when and where you’re going, when to expect you back, and when you actually get back. You can create a float plan online here.

For more information, read our Boating Guide.


Harassment and Discrimination

At PIE, we believe strongly in a respectful workplace and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. All participants are expected to follow our Principles of Community, show civility, and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. If you are using PIE facilities, you are also required to agree and adhere to the MBL Unlawful Harassment Policy. For guidance on options for support or reporting, please download our Incident Reporting and Resource Flow Chart.


Data and Metadata

All PIE researchers are participants in the LTER Network and are required to submit research data and metadata in accordance with the LTER Data Access Policy. We publish this data in the Environmental Data Initiative Repository at the time research results are peer-reviewed and published, or no later than 2 years after collection. For more information on our data publication policy, see Information Management.

In order to submit data for publication, e-mail the data and the completed Metadata Template to following the PIE LTER Data and Metadata Best Practices guide. The PIE Information Manager will gladly assist with data archiving and publishing. Please reach out with any questions.