What is the project all about?

The goal of Project ASCO (Assessing Seaweed via Community Observations) is to get interested participants out into the intertidal zone to collect data about rockweed while exploring the beauty of the rocky coast between the tides. Rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum, or “Asco”) is the dominant species in most of the rocky intertidal zone of Maine and provides habitat for other species living in and visiting the intertidal zone. Rockweed is currently harvested in Maine and sustainable management requires knowledge of the total amount of rockweed throughout the state. Participants in Project ASCO can help answer the question, ”How much rockweed is there?” The data collected by Project ASCO participants will be analyzed and shared by scientists at Schoodic Institute to inform resource management. Along with rockweed, this project allows for learning more about other seaweeds, periwinkles, mussels, crabs, birds, and the occasional seal or whale.

To learn more, check out the video below: What is Project ASCO?, an interview with Maya Pelletier produced by ‘Somewhere in Waldo County’ and Belfast Community Media.

How do I get involved?

You can reference this 2021 project launch webinar to learn more about the project, or attend in-person training in Maine this year.

The in-person training sessions will be spent outdoors and in the field, collecting data. No prior knowledge is required; participants will be given the supplies and training needed to safely enter the intertidal zone and collect data about the “Asco.” Precautions will be taken to ensure a safe environment. In the meantime, below are a few resources available to read up on rockweed and the rocky intertidal zone.

2024 Project ASCO events:

July 1 – Frazer Point, Winter Harbor
July 5 – Holbrook Island Sanctuary, Harborside/Brooksville
July 8 – Harriman Point, Brooklin
July 9 – South Blue Hill Landing, Blue Hill
July 10 – Hadley Point, Bar Harbor
July 25 – Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs
July 26 – Sears Island, Searsport

Project Resources

How is rockweed weighed? Watch this video tutorial to find out:


What is a holdfast and how are they counted? Watch this video tutorial for more information:

An introductory webinar was held on August 19, 2021:

Check out the data from Project ASCO on Anecdata

For more information, contact Hannah Webber at hwebber@schoodicinstitute.org or projectasco@schoodicinstitute.org.

Header photo by Julia McLeod

2024 Project ASCO at Sears Island

Please join Schoodic Institute’s Project ASCO research team on July 26, 2024 from 7:30am – 9:25am at Sears Island (Searsport, […]