Islands in the Gulf of Maine provide critical habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, including disjunct populations of alpine and arctic plants and nesting seabirds. Even on these relatively cool, marine influenced islands, climatic conditions are changing and it is unclear how species are responding. In this project, we are working with Acadia National Park managers and Glen Mittelhauser (Maine Natural History Observatory) to resample vegetation and forest plots on 10 islands.
The islands were first sampled 25 years ago (1992-1993) by park scientists and Earthwatch volunteers. We have begun resampling, including with Earthwatch volunteers in 2017. This project will provide crucial information on island dynamics, the trajectory of vegetation change, important environmental drivers, and potential implications for island plant and animal species—information essential for crafting management plans for Gulf of Maine islands.