Recent News

Former PIE outreach coordinator, Robert Buchsbaum, recieves 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.

Robert Buchsbaum receiving the award from Lisa Engler.


A Child, the Great Marsh, and Climate Change: a science art project by students at River Valley Charter School

A wonderful set of art panels was created from recycled materials by 7th-8th graders at River Valley Charter School for the project "A Child, the Great Marsh, and Climate Change". Project partners, led by Susan Quateman & Les Bartlett met to discuss display options for the panels and accompanying silk paintings by Susan Quateman and video by Lisa Smith. PIE is proud to be part of this! Stay tuned for info on display dates and places.

PIE researchers present at New England Estuarine Research Society 2023 meeting

Two PIE researchers presented last week at the New England Estuarine Research Society 2023 meeting. Yuyang Wang, a Mount Holyoke undergraduate, gave a great talk about her MBL Semester in Environmental Science research project combining field data and modeling to look at competition between S. alterniflora and P. australis in PIE marshes. Jade Fiorilla, a PIE post-baccalaureate, presented an excellent poster describing her TIDE Project research using long term sediment elevation table data to investigate accretion rates and deposition events in salt marshes around Plum Island Sound, MA.

Yuyang Lang is standing at a podium with the first slide of her talk, titled "Understanding the outcome of competition between Spartina  alterniflora and Phragmites australis using a model and field collected data" projected on a screen to her left. The slide also shows an aerial view of green marsh with a blue tidal river running through it, and blue water and sky in the distance.Jade Fiorilla stands smiling in front of her poster at the Spring meeting of NEERS, alongside Anne Giblin, also smiling!

New paper from Nat Weston finds increased accretion in US East Coast marshes

A new paper from Nat Weston's lab reveals how salt marshes along the U.S. East Coast have responded to accelerating sea level rise by building elevation more quickly to keep pace with the sea over the last century. The study was published in Earth’s Future, which publishes interdisciplinary research on the past, present and future of our planet and its inhabitants. Read more in the AGU press release.

Drone image of salt marsh along Nelson Creek, MA, showing parallel ditches in part of the marsh, and Plum Island Sound, Plum Island, and the Gulf of Maine beyond

Science update from PIE scientists in the GOMI Journal Summer 2022 Issue

The new Summer 2022 Issue of the Gulf of Maine Institute (GOMI) Journal is out and features a Science Update by PIE Senior Research Assistant, Jane Tucker, PIE Principal Investigator, Wil Wolheim, and PIE PhD Student, Chris Whitney. The article explains how the hydrological cycle links the Hubbard Brook LTER to the Plum Island Ecosystems LTER.

Introducing the 2022 PIE LTER Photo Contest!

We’re very excited to announce the 2022 Plum Island Ecosystems LTER Photo Contest!

First, second, and third place prizes are awarded to the three photos that best capture life at the PIE LTER site. An additional prize goes to the top undergraduate student submission that does not win a general prize.

Submissions will be open July 11-August 31. Judging criteria is broadly focused on photos that highlight the unique research that occurs at the PIE LTER. We will accept all photos that capture the experience of conducting research at PIE, from landscapes to wildlife to research in action. 

Get more information on the Photo Contest page.

We can’t wait to see the photos of all the amazing research you’re doing!

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 is external)

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(link is external).

James Nelson named Early-Career Research Fellow by National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine

Congratulations to Dr. James Nelson @jnelsonPhD(link is external), 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.