Mission: Climate Change


Research Question

Is climate change impacting Maine's intertidal communities?

Mission Video!

You're invited

Dr Jenn Dijkstra (Wells NERR) and Dr Jonathan Grabowski think they might be able to see the impact of climate change by studying 3 coastal species. They want your help looking for key species along the Maine coast: native bladder wrack, invasive Asian shore crab, and invasive orange sheath tunicate. Go check out the intertidal. Let them know if you see orange goo, striped legs, or bladders near you!

Mission steps

1. Print the species ID cards for:


    bladder wrack (native)
    Asian shore crab (invasive)
    orange sheath tunicate (invasive)

2. Print a Coastal Species & Habitat Survey datasheet
3. Go out and look for these species in the intertidal
4. Go to your My Vital Signs page (link at top right) to add your "found" or "not found" observations
5. Check out the Analysis Mission (coming soon!) to figure out how your observation fits and what it means

Why this Mission matters

Where species are located on Earth is in large part determined by our climate, and by people who move species from one place to another. As our climate changes, the location of plants and animals around the planet will likely change. Those changes may stress or favor different species living in Maine. Jenn and Jonathan want to take a closer look. They have carefully chosen these three species in order to answer their research question:

  1. Bladder wrack: A native alga found nearly everywhere along Maine's coastline
  2. Asian shore crab: An invasive crab not well-established in Maine that is sensitive to temperature
  3. Orange sheath tunicate: An invasive tunicate widely established along Maine's coastline

We will all be able to use the observations to look at where these species are and whether or not their ranges are shifting over time due to changes in climate. Neat.