I am a current masters student at the University of Maine pursuing a dual-degree in marine biology and marine policy. The focus of my research is on the management of soft-shell clams here in Maine. The soft-shell clam industry is a unique case of co-management wherein local municipalities work in concert with the State Department of Marine Resources to regulate the commercial and recreational harvest of clams.
I have a keen interest in sustainable, small-scale fisheries and am dedicated to finding ways to better incorporate fishermen knowledge and participation into decision-making processes. Local knowledge can make a key difference in developing policy and regulations that will be successful in meeting goals. By finding avenues for stakeholders to participate in the process – we can build better management programs.
In additional to learning about local management strategies, I am also involved in a project to determine how the addition of calcium carbonate to a mudflat can influence settlement of clam larvae. Soft-shell clams are broadcast spawners that release eggs and sperm into the water column where fertilization occurs. The larvae are planktonic (suspended in the water, at the whim of currents and tides) for approximately 28 days before settling onto coastal mudflats. Currently, some town management programs conduct conservation activities to add old clam shell (made up of calcium carbonate) back into the habitat. This project will provide information to help managers make better decisions moving forward.
It is not just about clams and management however. I am also invested in science communication and education, particularly when involving marine-related topics and sustainable resource use. Photography is a personal hobby that I hope can help tell stories and convey ideas. Adventure is at the core of my identity which comes hand-in-hand with my curiosity for nature (in all forms). Blend all of this together and you’ll get an optimistic, idealistic, young scientist who still believes that we can build a sustainable society.
~Elisabeth A. Maxwell
Link to CV
Mailing address: 200 Libby Hall, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, 04473, USA.
If you would like to learn a little more about my South African (2011) or Mozambican (2012) adventures, please follow these links…
South Africa: http://elisabethmaxwell.blogspot.com