Research & Monitoring

wells national estuarine research reserve

Research Program

The Wells Reserve expands knowledge about coasts and estuaries with an emphasis on ensuring healthy salt marsh ecosystems. Most investigations occur along Maine’s southwest coast from the Kennebec to the Piscataqua River, with effort focused between Kittery and Cape Elizabeth.

Key themes of Wells Reserve research include:

  • Understanding salt marsh habitats and plant communities
  • Measuring the value of salt marsh habitats for fish, shellfish, and birds
  • Exploring how salt marshes degrade and how they can be restored
  • Monitoring water quality in estuaries

Learn more about Wells Reserve research

Monitoring Program

The Wells Reserve participates in the System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP), which collects, analyzes, and makes available weather, water quality, and nutrient data from all National Estuarine Research Reserves.

Wells Reserve monitoring also includes biological surveys, such as salt marsh vegetation, fish, insects, and birds.

Learn more about Wells Reserve monitoring

Scientists investigating the diet of mummichogs, or salt marsh minnows.

In the Lab

The Maine Coastal Ecology Center at the Wells Reserve holds an advanced research laboratory for year-round investigations.