Coastal Conversations 6/25/21: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems: Ecological Connections and Research Methods

Producer/Host: Natalie Springuel

Maine coastal and ocean issues: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems: Ecological Connections and Research Methods

Today’s coastal conversations is in honor of the annual spring running, that time of year when several species of fish, such as alewives and blue-back herring, return from the ocean to Maine’s streams and ponds to spawn. Our show is about marine and freshwater ecosystems, and specifically the ecological connections that occur where salt and freshwater meet, where fish, marine mammals, birds and even water itself, moves along freshwater and into the ocean.

We’ll learn about several research projects underway in these systems, and new research methods, like environmental DNA, as well as existing research methods, such as hook and line fishing, to understand the species that inhabit these zones. We’ll also talk about local and traditional ecological knowledge that gets handed down through generations and helps provide critical information on how to protect estuaries and fish.

Our guests will help us understand why we should care about the research programs that occur at the intersection of marine and freshwater estuaries. Our geographic scope will span the Downeast region, from the Penobscot River system all the way down to Passamaquoddy Bay on the Canadian border.


Justin Stevens, leader of the sea run fish ecosystem project, a partnership between Maine Sea Grant and NOAA Fisheries.

Chris Bartlett, marine extension associate with Maine Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension, based in Eastport Maine where he works on multiple research and restoration projects at the intersection of fresh and salt water.

Julia Sunnarborg, UMaine PhD student in Marine Biology who works with the Maine eDNA program to assess shifts in coastal community structure and biodiversity.

Michelle de Leon: UMaine master’s student in Ecology & Environmental Sciences focused on social-ecological resilience and partnership building in eastern Maine where fisheries have cultural and commercial significance.

About the host:
Natalie Springuel has hosted Coastal Conversation’s since 2015, with support from the University of Maine Sea Grant where she has served as a marine extension associate for 20 years. In 2019, Springuel received an award for Public Affairs programming from the Maine Association of Broadcasters for the Coastal Conversations show called “Portland’s Working Waterfront.” Springuel is passionate about translating science, sharing stories, and offering a platform for multiple voices to weigh in on complex coastal and ocean issues. She has recently enrolled in audio production training at Maine Media Workshop to dive deeper into making great community radio.