Research Assistant Professor
School of Marine Sciences
University of Maine
What problem/s are you working to solve?
I’m studying interactions between fish and tidal power devices in environments with strong tides that present difficult conditions. My research focuses on how to best describe the presence of fish in these environments, monitor fish interactions with new tidal power devices, and describe what fish will “do” and what will happen to them when these devices are introduced to the marine environment.
Our team is working with agencies and industry to define the most cost-effective way to assess tidal power impacts on the marine environment. We’re also investigating how to incorporate community concerns about tidal power development into our assessments of the impacts on the marine environment.
What progress are you making toward solutions?
We have two years of baseline data on the presence of fish in tidally dynamic environments. We have adapted techniques and strategies, and refined methods along the way. We have also developed effective working relationships with community, industry, and agency partners. Finally, we have provided preliminary research to inform industry and agency decision-making about siting and issuing permits for tidal power devices in Cobscook Bay, Maine.
How could your findings contribute to a more sustainable future in Maine and beyond?
The need for renewable energy sources is a pressing issue around the world. Developing these sources in a manner that minimizes the impact to the natural environment would provide a sustainable future. In Maine, the tides could provide one of the most predictable renewable energy sources. Developing this technology with an eye toward community needs and environmental conditions will be important for Maine and other regions that follow.
Why did you decide to join SSI?
I believe deeply, personally, and professionally, in the SSI approach to research.
What’s the best part about collaborating on SSI research projects?
Learning new disciplinary approaches and meeting people who are passionate about their work.
Where’s your favorite place in Maine?
The chicken pen in my back yard.
What’s your ultimate Maine experience?
Interacting with people from Maine who are passionate about their place.
Mud season survival strategy?
Just keep swimming…
What sustains you?
My passion for securing a safe and diverse future for my son.
Additional information about Gayle and her team