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by Emma Albee and Abe Miller-Rushing

Another busy year of science in Acadia National Park in the books! Researchers worked on 85 projects in the park. Researchers included technicians, Gero Fellows, Second Century Stewardship Fellows, Scientist-in-Park interns, NPS and Schoodic Institute staff, student teams from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and faculty and students from College of the Atlantic, University of Maine, and other partners in science.

In 2022, we began to scale-up three big ecosystem restoration projects in the park—on the summit of Cadillac Mountain and at Great Meadow (Acadia’s largest freshwater wetland) and Bass Harbor Marsh (the park’s largest salt marsh). These restoration projects built on six years of work on the Wild Acadia initiative with Friends of Acadia and the science expertise of the Schoodic Institute, the nonprofit that supports the Research Learning Center in Acadia. The projects are notable for their scale—some of the largest resource management projects in the park’s history—and for their approach. Rather than restoring past conditions, the restorations include a mix of actions, some to resist changes like invasive plants, some that accept changes like increased rainfall, and some to direct changes like promoting species adapted to future climate conditions. This resist-accept-direct approach is called RAD for short and represents a new approach for climate adaptation for conservation organizations.

An analysis of long-term Christmas Bird Count data showed sharp declines in winter bird populations in Acadia. In 2021, an analysis of NPS monitoring data showed surprising changes in summer breeding bird populations, too. Understanding these changes and their implications is becoming a priority for park managers, and is a subject of expanding research, as reflected in increases in wildlife-focused research in 2022, a trend we expect to continue.

Acadia staff are also exploring ways to reduce threats to aquatic wildlife. For example, how do we protect salamanders who cross park roads to reach vernal pools to breed in? And how might we manage nonnative invasive fish to protect native species and to reduce harm from mercury pollution?

Park staff are also working with local communities on projects in the intertidal zone. Officials from the Town of Mount Desert, College of the Atlantic, Schoodic Institute, and NPS worked together to understand options for improving the health of the harbor at Otter Creek, a historic fishing village adjacent to the park. Park and Schoodic Institute staff also continued their work to improve management of threatened intertidal ecosystems, which are important for Tribes, clam and marine worm harvesters, visitors, and educators.

Summary of 2022 Research Projects in Acadia National Park

Areas of Research Number of Projects in 2022
Wildlife & Biodiversity 24
Intertidal & Marine 18
Plants 17
Freshwater & Air 9
Visitor Studies 9
Pests, diseases, & invasive species 5
Cultural resources 2
Geology 1


For more examples of research in Acadia, please visit the Science and Research web page.

The buzz of research activity was not limited to the field. Scientists published at least 38 new publications about research in Acadia, more than in most years. Perhaps people had more time to analyze data and write over the past year because of COVID-19 or perhaps this reflects increases in research in Acadia over the past decade.

Acadia National Park 2022 Scientific Research Publications

The following list shows scientific publications that use data or fieldwork from Acadia National Park. The list includes research done by scientists from many institutions.

  1. Alahmed S, L Ross, SMC Smith. 2022. Coastal hydrodynamics and timescales in meso-macrotidal estuaries in the Gulf of Maine: a model study. Estuaries and Coasts.
  2. Ballingall K, K Bell, S Green, B Wyatt. 2022. Maine Trail Visitor Count 2019 to 2021. Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.
  1. Bolte CE. 2022. Quantifying contributions of climate, geography, and gene flow to divergence: a case study for three North American pines. Dissertation, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.
  1. Braun L. 2022. Understanding the impacts of anthropogenic effects and habitat variability interactions on Maine’s rocky intertidal ecosystem. Masters Thesis. University of Maine, Orono.
  1. Craig CA, S Ma, S Feng. 2023. Climate resources for camping: A resource-based theory perspective. Tourism Management Perspectives 45: 101072.
  1. Crausbay SD, HR Sofaer, AE Cravens, BC Chaffin, KR Clifford, JE Gross, CN Knapp, DJ Lawrence, DR Magness, AJ Miller-Rushing, GW Schuurman, CS Stevens-Rumann. 2022. A science agenda to inform natural resource management decisions in an era of ecological transformation. BioScience 72: 71-90.
  1. Dangi TB, T Michaud, R Dumont, T Wheeler. 2022. Differential impacts of COVID-19 on college student tourism jobs: Insights from Vacationland-Maine, USA. Tourism and Hospitality 3: 509-535.
  1. Doser JW. 2022. Development and application of hierarchical models for monitoring avian soundscapes, populations, and communities. Dissertation, Michigan State University.
  1. Fang J, JA Lutz, HH Shugart, L Wang, F Liu, X Yan. 2022. Continental-scale parameterization and prediction of leaf phenology for the North American forests. Global Ecology and Biogeography.
  2. Francisco López AF, EG Heckenauer Barrón, PM Bellow Bugallo. 2022. Contribution to understanding the influence of fires on the mercury cycle: Systematic review, dynamic modeling and application to sustainable hypothetical scenarios. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 194: 707.
  3. Fowler RA, KA Warner, WG Gawley, JE Saros. 2022. Paleolimnological comparison of algal changes in a clear-versus a brown-water lake over the last two centuries in northeastern U.S.A. Journal of Paleolimnology.
  1. Gabe T. 2022. What landmarks do visitors remember about a place? The Review of Regional Studies 52: 104-126.
  1. Grace JB. 2022. General guidance for custom-built structural equation models. One Ecosystem 7: e72780.
  1. Greenberg M. 2022. Environmental and Social Justice Challenges near America’s Most Popular Museums, Parks, Zoos and Other Heritage Attractions. Springer: Cham, Switzerland.
  1. Halstead BJ, AM Ray, E Muths, EH Campbell Grant, R Grasso, MJ Adams, K Semple Delaney, J Carlson, BR Hossack. 2022. Looking ahead, guided by the past: The role of U.S. national parks in amphibian research and conservation. Ecological Indicators 136: 108631.
  1. Horne L, A DiMatteo-LePape, G Wolf-Gonzalez, V Briones, A Soucy, S De Urioste-Stone. 2022. Climate change planning in a coastal tourism destination, a participatory approach. Tourism and Hospitality Research 45: 285-296.
  1. Huta JK. 2022. Nitrate and sulfate atmospheric deposition and visitation in United States national parks. Thesis, Alfred University: Alfred, New York.
  1. Kim M-K, JJ Daigle. 2022. Long-term monitoring of vegetation cover changes by remote sensing, Cadillac Mountain summit, Acadia National Park. Parks Stewardship Forum 38: 132-144.
  1. Knapp A. 2022. COVID-19 and outdoor recreation in Maine and New Hampshire: Analysis of trends using passive visitation data. Thesis, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.
  2. Link AN. 2022. Public Sector Entrepreneurship: Innovative Pricing Policies for U.S. National Parks. Elgar Publishing, Northampton, Massachusetts.
  3. McBride SE, BA Lieberthal, DE Buttke, BD Cronk, SM De Urioste-Stone, LB Goodman, LD Guarnieri, TF Rounsville, Jr, AM Gardner. 2022. Patterns and ecological mechanisms of tick-borne disease exposure risk in Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine, United States. Journal of Medical Entomology tjac152,
  1. Merson M, C Char, M McFarland, NI Hristov, LC Allen. 2022. Feeling accountable: Interpreting park-based science in the 21st century. Journal of Interpretation Research
  1. Miller-Rushing AJ, ER Ellwood, TM Crimmins, AS Gallinat, M Phillips, RL Sandler, RB Primack. 2022. Conservation ethics in the time of the pandemic: Does increasing remote access advance social justice? Biological Conservation 276: 109788.
  1. Muscat A. 2022. Identifying umbrella species to inform the conservation of intertidal areas in Acadia National Park. Thesis, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.
  1. Nadeau CP, A Giacomazzo, MC Urban. 2022. Cool microrefugia accumulate and conserve biodiversity under climate change. Global Change Biology doi:10.1111/gcb.16143
  1. Nelson ML. 2022. Tomorrow’s stewards: Engaging youth with environmental volunteerism. Environmental Studies Capstone, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.
  1. Nelson S, C McDonough MacKenzie, TL Morelli, J Wason, B Wentzell, R Hovel, G Hodgkins, A Miller-Rushing, D Miller, S Tatko, A Cross, M Pounch. Introduction: Climate change in the mountains of Maine and the Northeast. Northeastern Naturalist 28: ii-ix.
  1. Park LO, JL Marion, JF Wimpey. 2022. Efficacy of combining education and site management in reducing off-trail travel in a fragile biotic community, Acadia National Park. Journal of Interpretation Research
  1. Ranco D, J Haverkamp. 2022. Storying Indigenous (life)worlds: An introduction. Genealogy 6: 25.
  1. Rutty M, M Hewer, N Knowles, S Ma. 2022. Tourism and climate change in North America: regional state knowledge. Journal of Sustainable Tourism.
  1. Smith TE. 2022. Taxonomic revision and list of Cyanophyta from the New England States, USA. International Journal on Algae. 24: 29-62.
  1. Spernbauer B, C Monz, JW Smith. 2022. The effects and trade-offs of alternative transportation systems in U.S. National Park Service units: An integrative review. Journal of Environmental Management. in press.
  1. Taff BD, J Thomsen, WL Rice, Z Miller, J Newton, L Miller, A Gibson, M Riddle, JP Schaberl, M McCormick. 2022. US national park visitor experiences during COVID-19: Data from Acadia, Glacier, Grand Teton, Shenandoah, and Yellowstone National Parks. Parks Stewardship Forum 38: 145-159.
  1. Taylor VF, J Landis, S Janssen. 2022. Tracing the sources and depositional history of mercury to coastal northeastern U.S. lakes. Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts.
  1. Trott TJ. 2022. Mesoscale spatial patterns of Gulf of Maine Rocky intertidal communities. Diversity 14: 557.
  1. Van Kampen R, N Fisichelli, Y-J Zhang, J Wason. 2022. Drought timing and species growth phenology determine intra-annual recovery of tree height and diameter growth. Annals of Botany.
  2. Vannatta RL. 2022. A new age of natural resource management (re)envisioning the role of the U.S. national parks. Masters Thesis. The Ohio State University.
  3. Wisner SA. 2022. Utilizing climate change refugia for climate change adaptation and management in the Northeast. Masters thesis. 1170. University of Massachusetts Amherst.

2022 Research Permits for Research Conducted in Acadia National Park

Wildlife & Biodiversity

Scott Weidensaul; Project SNOWstorm
Alpine Wintering Ecology of Snowy Owls in Acadia National Park

Wriley Hodge; College of The Atlantic
Winter and Spring Waterbird Counts Around Acadia National Park

Abigail Muscat; University of Maine (Orono)
A pilot test of a long-term nearshore bird community monitoring program in Acadia National Park

David Yates; Biodiversity Research Institute
Hg trends in Acadia National Park

Seth Benz; Schoodic Institute
SeaWatch: A Citizen Science Monitoring Project of Fall Seabird Migrations off Schoodic Point in Acadia National Park

Seth Benz; Schoodic Institute
Long-term Monitoring of Fall Raptor Migrations in Acadia National Park (using standard data collection protocol as defined by the Hawk Migration Association of North America)

Tasman Rosenfeld; Yale University
Physiology and population genetics of a salt-tolerant subpopulation of spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) in Acadia National Park, Maine, USA

Stephen Ressel; College of The Atlantic
Breeding by the Sea: Coastal Vernal Pools in Acadia National Park as Breeding Habitat for Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum)

Emma Damm; College of The Atlantic
Investigating Spring Amphibian Migration Activity on Duck Brook Road

Seth Benz; Schoodic Institute
Schoodic Institute Biodiversity and Phenology Citizen Science Observations

Laura Sebastianelli
Bird Sound Recording to Enhance Bird Ecology Research at Acadia National Park

Christina Murphy; US Geological Survey, Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Impact of invasive fishes on lake foodwebs in Acadia National Park

Greg Shriver; University of Delaware
Saltmarsh Habitat & Avian Research Program resurvey (Avian/vegetation surveys)

Aaron Weed; National Park Service, Northeast Temperate Network
Forest Bird Monitoring at Acadia National Park

Allyson Jackson; Purchase College, SUNY
Cross-system subsidies in Acadia National Park: bird component of larger study on cross-ecosystem subsidies

Bik Wheeler; Acadia National Park
Protecting WNS Affected Bat Populations in Acadia National Park: Monitoring and Mitigation

Evan Graham Hegeman; University of Connecticut
Threespine stickleback and cestode parasites in Maine waters

Wriley Hodge; College of The Atlantic
A Survey of Acadia National Park’s nesting Seabirds

Pooja Panwar; Dartmouth College
Quantifying food resource available to Bats and Birds at Acadia National Park

Gillian Bowser; Colorado State University
3dNaturalist/Pollinator Hotshot Inventory Study

Melenia Giakoumis; City University of New York
Population dynamics and conservation of Asterias sea stars in the north Atlantic

Emma Albee; Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park
eBird observations in Acadia National Park

Emma Albee; Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park
Nature’s Notebook observations in Acadia National Park

Emma Albee; Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park
iNaturalist observations in Acadia

Intertidal & Marine

Eliza Oldach; University of California, Davis
Managing the Intertidal: An Evaluation of Acadia National Park’s Community Workshop Process

James Lynch; National Park Service – Northeast Region
Elevation monitoring of salt marsh habitats at Acadia National Park

Catherine Matassa; University of Connecticut
Intertidal community assembly and dynamics: Integrating broad-scale regional variation in environmental forcing and benthic-pelagic coupling (NSF Award OCE-1458150)

Alexa Pezzano; NPS – Acadia National Park, Schoodic Education Adventure Program
Schoodic Education Adventure, Intertidal Exploration

Chris Petersen; College of The Atlantic
Clam recruitment and predation, and pH in intertidal mudflats

Adam Kozlowski; NPS, Northeast Temperate Network
NPS Northeast Temperate Inventory and Monitoring Network (NETN) Rocky Intertidal Monitoring Program

Morgan Simms; EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc., PBC
Improving Coastal Resiliency on St. Croix Island, Maine

Nathan Dorn; MDI Biological Laboratory, Community Environmental Health Laboratory
Comparing eelgrass meadow health between restored and undisturbed sites

Susan Brawley; University of Maine (Orono)
Experimental Evolutionary Cell Biology Using the Porphyra Model System

John Cigliano; Cedar Crest College
Marine microplastics in Acadia National Park

John Cigliano; Cedar Crest College
The effects of ocean acidification and climate change on temperate marine rocky intertidal communities

Hannah Webber; Schoodic Institute
Marine-to-land subsidies in Acadia National Park’s Big Moose, Little Moose, and Pond Islands

Madelaine Pelletier; Schoodic Institute
Project ASCO (Assessing Seaweed via Community Observations)

Hannah Webber; Schoodic Institute
Phenology of Jonah crab (Cancer borealis) appearance on Schoodic Peninsula

Laura Katz; Smith College
Biodiversity of Microbial Eukaryotes in Acadia National Park: Testate (Shelled) Amoebae at Big Heath and Ciliates in tide pools

Hannah Webber; Schoodic Institute
Biodiversity of select soft sediment habitats of Acadia National Park

Kaitlin Van Volkom; University of New Hampshire
Changes in Slipper Limpet Populations across New England

Chris Petersen; College of The Atlantic
Historical Ecology of Tide Pool Flora and Fauna at Acadia National Park


Christopher Nadeau; University of Connecticut
Does Enhancing Genetic Diversity Increase the Long-term Success of Subalpine-Plant Restorations Under Climate Change

Alexa Pezzano; NPS – Acadia National Park, Schoodic Education Adventure Program
Schoodic Education Adventure, Soil Exploration

Jeff Licht; University of Massachusetts, Boston
Investigating Genetic Properties of Jack pine (Pinus banksiana) Located At A Sympatry On South Cadillac Trail

Caitlin Littlefield; Conservation Science Partners, Inc.
Coastal spruce-fir dynamics in the face of sea-level rise and salt marsh migration

Matthew Duveneck; New England Conservatory
Future Forest Trajectories in Acadia National Park: Identifying Management Priorities

Richard Vachula; Auburn University
Using the past to inform modern and future wildfire in Acadia National Park

Aaron Weed; National Park Service, Northeast Temperate Network
Forest Health Monitoring at Acadia National Park

Christopher Monz; Utah State University
Spatial distribution of recreation disturbance on Sargent Mountain summit, Acadia National Park, ME

William Brumback; Native Plant Trust
The New England Plant Conservation Program (2020-2024)

Jeffrey Harriman; Maine Forest Service
Northeast Forest Inventory and Analysis

Stephanie Spera; University of Richmond
Climate Change, Fall Foliage, and Leaf-Peepers: Effects of Precipitation and Temperature on Senescence and Visitation in Acadia National Park

Nicholas Fisichelli; Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park
Impacts of extreme climate events on tree regeneration in the Northern Forest

Peter Nelson; Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park
Develop Climate Change-Resilient Restoration Techniques on Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

Peter Nelson; Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park
Acadia Bio-Crust Study / Acadia Summit Restoration Assisted biological soil crust revegetation on Acadia summits

Peter Nelson; Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park
Forest health and composition mapping in Acadia and Katadhin Woods and Waters

Christopher Nadeau; Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park
A Seed Bank Germination Study to Predict Future Wetland Vegetation in Great Meadow

Freshwater & Air

James Pagano; State University of New York at Oswego
Ambient Levels of Persistent and Emerging Air Toxics in Acadia National Park

Julie Kelso; US Environmental Protection Agency
Streamflow Duration Assessment Method

Jamie Kilgo; National Park Service, Water Resources Division
Rapid Response Strategy for Potential Toxin Exposures from HABs in Coastal and Shoreline Areas of National Parks

Jeremy Deeds; Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Regional Lake Monitoring Network

Kathryn Miller; National Park Service, Northeast Temperate Network
Freshwater Wetland Monitoring at Acadia National Park

Glen Mittelhauser; Maine Natural History Observatory
Assess water levels in Great Meadow – 2022

William Gawley; NPS – Acadia National Park
Jordan Pond, Seal Cove, and Witch Hole Pond Water Quality Monitoring

Colleen Emery; US Geological Survey
The Dragonfly Mercury Project – engaging citizen scientists in monitoring mercury contamination in National Parks

Peter Nelson; Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park
Schoodic climate station

Visitor Studies

Frederick Bianchi; Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Optimization of the Cadillac Mountain Reservation System

Jill Weiss; State University of New York College of Environmental Science and
Managing the New Hiker: Characteristics, Perceptions, and Behavior Trends among Trail Users in the Northeast

Lucy Martin; University of Maine
Acadia National Park, Tourism, and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Impacts to Risk Perception and Behaviors

Frederick Bianchi; Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Cadillac Reservation System

Frederick Bianchi; Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Bass Harbor Lighthouse Reservation System

Frederick Bianchi; Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Maple Spring Trail GIS layers

Frederick Bianchi; Worcester Polytechnic Institute
e-Bike Research

Joseph St. Germain; Downs & St. Germain Research
Visitor Profile & Economic Impact Analysis Research for the State of Maine

Adam Gibson; Acadia National Park
Visitor Perceptions with Lighting and Night Skies in National Parks

Pests, Diseases, & Invasive species

Nicole Kollars; Northeastern University Marine Science Center
Using population genetics to inform invasive species management: A case study with glossy buckthorn at Acadia National Park

Jesse Wheeler; NPS – Acadia National Park
Southern pine beetle monitoring

Jesse Wheeler; NPS – Acadia National Park
Emerald Ash Borer surveys using girdled trap trees in Acadia National Park

Jesse Wheeler; NPS – Acadia National Park
Emerald Ash Borer Survey and Outreach

Angela Mech; University of Maine
Lure efficacy trial for the invasive browntail moth (Euproctis chrysorrhoea)

Camilla Seirup; NPS, Northeast Temperate Network
Stand dynamics and climate sensitivity of Maine’s coastal spruce-fir forest

Cultural resources

Bonnie Newsom; University of Maine
Old Collections, New Analyses: Examining Archaeological Materials to Enhance Coastal Site Stewardship in Acadia National Park, Maine

Michelle Baumflek; USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station
Protect Natural Resources by Developing Plant Gathering Protocols with Indian Tribal Gatherers


Sarah Hall; College of The Atlantic
Impacts of intense rain events: Geomorphic assessments of two Acadia National Park watersheds