Scientists & data use

Who is using Vital Signs data? For what? Find out!

Maine Department of Environmental Protection


    Species of interest

    Maine's 11 most unwanted invasive aquatic plants

    How they use VS data

    Maine DEP uses Vital Signs species observations as "first-word" data. They get notified when an observation is published. If there is reason for concern, they learn more using the comments, ask for samples or more photos and then follow up in the field if necessary.

    Their Field Mission question

    Can we keep Maine's most unwanted aquatic plant species out of our lakes?

    Vital thoughts

    "Like no other program, Vital Signs creates a collaborative foundation for students, scientists and resource managers to respond rapidly to new environmental threats to Maine while providing essential experience to the next generation of its citizen scientists." Paul Gregory, Environmental Specialist, Maine Department of Environmental Protection

    VS profiles to check out

    Karen Hahnel

    Other vital contributions

Maine Forest Service


    Species of interest

    • Hemlock woolly adelgid
    • Asian longhorned beetle
    • Emerald ash borer
    • Winter moth

    How they use VS data

    Maine has a lot of trees, and Mainers and tourists move firewood (and forest bugs!) all over the place. Allison, Charlene, and others at the Maine Forest Service check out trees and interact with people all over Maine from their Augusta office. They use Field Missions and comments to educate and motivate and hopefully detect new infestations early.

    Their Field Mission questions

    Vital tweet

    Maine Forest Service partners with to track HWA - cool online form lets anyone upload survey data" Michael Bohne, USDA Forest Service, 2011

    VS profiles to check out


    Future contributions

    Hemlock woolly adelgid layer for the VS map coming soon!

Anita Klein at University of New Hampshire


    Species of interest

    Codium fragile

    How Anita uses VS data

    Anita uses DNA-based molecular techniques provide new approaches to understanding evolution and population structures of algae. She is currently tracking the origins and diversity of invasive Codium fragile subspecies fragile (oyster theif, dead man's fingers) in Northern New England and Canadian Maritimes. Vital Signs species observations let her see where codium is found along the Maine coast, and she encourages people to collect and send samples for genetic testing.

    Vital contributions

    Anita Klein at the University of New Hampshire and her graduate students shared their extensive codium dataset with the Vital Signs database. It's a win-win. Their dataset is in a place where it can be used and built upon by the VS community. The community can now make sense of their own data in context of a much larger dataset.

    Codium Missions that use UNH data

    Robin Hadlock Seeley at Cornell/ Shoals Marine Lab


      Species of interest

      • Heterosiphonia japonica
      • Jeuvenile green crabs
      • Periwinkles
      • Rockweed

      How Robin uses VS data

      Robin Hadlock-Seeley, senior research associate at Cornell University/ Shoals Marine Laboratory, checks the photos on the green crab observations. She's interested in where and when juveniles are showing up. Not every site has green crab recruitment every year, and she’s trying to learn why. Vital Signs data helps her better target her resources.

      New invader found!

      In summer 2012, Robin's students at Shoals Marine Laboratory found Asian red algae (Heterosiphonia japonica) along the shoreline of Appledore Island. This find was farther north than the algae has previously been seen. In the Science News, Robin explained, "It is currently present in large enough amounts in limited areas of Appledore's shoreline to impact the intertidal zone. Other than reports from lobster fishermen about clogged traps and troublesome piles of the seaweed on swimming beaches, we don't yet know the impacts of this seaweed invasion on the coast. But it's moving fast."

      With Robin's guidance, we're building a new Field Mission and species ID card that will mobilize the VS community to look for Heterosiphonia along the coast.

      Vital contributions

      Robin is instrumental in building VS species ID cards and reviewing species observations.



      How they use VS data

      The The Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS) is interested in collecting ALL invasive species observation data into a single, searchable database.

      They like our community’s field protocols and review process, and see VS data as a legitimate source of quality data for their bid database. They periodically export all observations where an invasive species has been FOUND and CONFIRMED by a species expert. You can see what a VS observation looks like in the EDDMapS database here.

      Vital contributions

      EDDMapS’s data export adds VS data to the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE) system too. VS data are used in predictive models for Oriental bittersweet, Japanese barberry, and burning bush.

    Species experts

    Maine Department of Agriculture
    Ann Gibbs
    Karen Coluzzi

    Maine Forest Service
    Allison Kanoti
    Charlene Donahue

    Maine Department of Environmental Protection
    Paul Gregory
    John McPhedran
    Karen Hahnel

    University of Southern Maine
    Karen Wilson - Watch her video!
    Lois Stack
    Theresa Theodose

    Beth Bisson, Maine Sea Grant

    Brett Levin

    Caleb Slemmons, University of Maine

    Carrie Byron

    Cathy Bevier, Colby College

    Curt Brown

    Curtis Bohlen, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership - Watch his video!

    Dave Munson, ProjectNOAH

    Elizabeth Stephenson - Watch her video!

    Frank Archuleta, Acadia National Park

    Gary Fish, Pesticide Programs: Maine Board of Pesticides

    Greg Averill, Forest Street Elementary School, Mars Hill

    Hillary Shultz, Pine Tree State Arboretum

    Jeffrey Rubel, Pembroke Hill School

    Jenn Dijkstra, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve - Watch her video!

    Jonathan Grabowski, Northeastern University

    Kathy Ann Miller, University of California Berkeley & Shoals Marine Laboratory

    Larry Harris, University of New Hampshire - Watch his video!

    Lisa St Hilaire, Maine Natural Areas Program

    Marissa McMahan

    Rachelle Pinault

    Nick Record, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

    Rebecca Jones, University of Maine & GMRI

    Robin Hadlock-Seeley, Cornell University

    Ruthie Hawley, Colby College - Watch her video!

    Roberta Hill, Maine Center for Invasive Aquatic Plants

    Sarah Morrisseau

    Sarah Treanor-Bois, Invasive Plant Atlas of New England

    Zach Whitener

    Gulf of Maine Research Institute
    Alexa Dayton
    Adam Baukus
    Caroline Casals
    Christine Voyer
    Gayle Bodge
    Katie Flavin
    Kim Little
    Sarah Kirn