Science lab

Climate Change Ecology

Climate change is quickly becoming a dominant influence on land and in the sea.

Our lab combines modern technology with decades of detailed ocean records to model how climate change will impact valuable marine ecosystems, as well as the people who depend on them. We seek to understand how warming, acidification, and deoxygenation alter marine ecosystems. We focus on how a range of critically important marine species, including humans, are affected by climate change.

We aim to understand how:

  • Marine ecosystems respond to changes in ocean temperatures and other physical factors.
  • Commercially and ecologically valuable species such as lobster, copepods, and endangered right whales will be affected by climate change.
  • Humans can best anticipate and adapt to climate change to ensure a sustainable future.

Lab Team

Our Methods

Our interdisciplinary approach helps us understand how climate change will alter ecological, economic, and sociological systems.

We use decades-long records of ocean conditions to diagnose how marine ecosystems respond to changes in temperature and other physical factors. We build computer models that can replicate observed changes, and then we use these models to project how ecosystems will change in the future and what these changes will mean for people. Climate change is an interdisciplinary problem, and we work closely with climate scientists, oceanographers, ecologists, and economists.

  • Ecosystem Modeling
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration
  • Data Analysis
  • Climate Science

Research Lab Projects

  • Ecosystem Impacts of Warming

    Ecosystem Impacts of Warming

    The northwest Atlantic is much warmer than it was a decade ago. This project documents how plankton and fish communities have changed and uses computer …

  • Gulf of Maine Temperature Trends

    Gulf of Maine Temperature Trends

    The Gulf of Maine has warmed quickly, but is it still warming? We use satellite data to keep tabs on the temperature of the Gulf …

  • Real World, Real Science

    Real World, Real Science

    Real World, Real Science is a NASA-funded project that enables students to explore the local impacts of global climatic trends and builds connections in STEM …

As more people who care about the Gulf of Maine come to understand it as one of the fastest-warming ocean regions on the planet, one question persists: Why is the Gulf of Maine warming so rapidly?

Read More

  • 2020 Gulf of Maine Warming Update

    2020 Gulf of Maine Warming Update

    Each summer, Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Andrew Pershing, likes to share an update about conditions in the Gulf of Maine. Dr. Pershing has led a …


  • New Study Reveals ‘Surprising Surprises’

    New Study Reveals ‘Surprising Surprises’

    A study published by GMRI scientists and collaborators in 2019 shows how marine ecosystems around the world are experiencing unusually high ocean temperatures more frequently …


  • New Study: Warming, Conservation, and Lobsters

    New Study: Warming, Conservation, and Lobsters

    A 2018 study, led by scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and colleagues at the University of Maine and NOAA, demonstrates how conservation …


  • Our Role in the National Climate Assessment

    Our Role in the National Climate Assessment

    In November, the federal government published the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA). Mandated by Congress starting in 1990, the NCA assesses climate change impacts across …