Partners in Science

While Acadia's beauty endures, its forests, lakes and coasts have been altered (over the past 100+ years) by human influence such as climate change, land use, pollution, increased visitation. As a result, Acadia faces many threats driven by climate change, ranging from invasive plants and insects to rising temperatures and significant storms. We use science to care for Acadia in the face of this rapid environmental change. But the science is changing and, as a result, so is how we’re managing the park.

With the support of its partners, Acadia National Park is a leader in the National Park System’s new approach to managing parks in the face of environmental change. Acadia park scientists work in collaboration with a multitude of partners to study the park include tribes, non-profit organizations, universities, and other National Park Service entities. Taken together, this diverse body of scientific research helps support the park's science-based management decisions.

If we don’t address these human-caused changes, we may lose some of the things we love most about Acadia. We can act together now to help ensure that our park remains a treasure for generations to enjoy.

Schoodic Institute & Friends of Acadia

Working together with Acadia's primary partners, Schoodic Institute and Friends of Acadia, Acadia National Park is currently leading the way in partnership-based, interdisciplinary, and updated approaches to keeping Acadia resilient and adaptive in the face of climate change. Current research projects at the summit of Cadillac Mountain, Great Meadow Wetland, and Bass Harbor Marsh are testing and evaluating new management approaches. This cutting edge research is already informing how other parks and protected areas around the world are managed in the face of environmental change.

a researcher stands at a table surrounded by green plants, rocks in the background
Science at the Summit

Learn about the ways climate change is challenging researchers to rethink how they manage Acadia's fragile mountain summits.

blue sky reflects in standing water below green hills
Great Meadow Wetland

Learn about this expansive wetland ecosystem and the steps scientists are taking to restore its health in the face of change.

sunset reflected in water amongst wetland grasses
Bass Harbor Marsh

Learn more about beautiful Bass Harbor Marsh and efforts by researchers and volunteers to stem the tide of invasive species.


Schoodic Institute

The Schoodic Institute supports scientific research of importantance to Acadia National Park. This reasearch is critical to assisting park leadership make management decisions for the present and future problems facing the park. Schoodic Institute also partners with the park in providing opportunites for teachers, students, and visitors to engage in science education and citizen science opportunities. The insitute also helps run the Acadia Science Symposium which is a series of events that provides a forum to learn about science taking place in the region and to interact and build collaborations with scientists, educators, students, park staff, and others working in a range of fields. Schoodic Institute is the largest of 18 National Park Service Research Learning Centers. In this position it also helps facilitate innovative partnerships such as Second Century Stewardship and the Citizen Science Association.


Friends of Acadia

Friends of Acadia is the official friends partner for the park. They work together within their organization to help support the parks scientic goals. Fundraising, applying for grants, and even having staff members leading conservation projects within the park are just a few of the many ways that Friends of Acadia helps support scientific research, conservation, and management in Acadia.


Colleges & Universities

Acadia National Park helps support research opportunities for a variety of researchers from universities and colleges all over the world. These research projects help support a better understanding of the natural world and conservation efforts in numerous places. The park also has long standing partnerships with universities to increase research and learning opportunities for students as well as assist the park in making management decisions.

College of the Atlantic

College of the Atlantic is located on Mount Desert Island where most of Acadia National Park. Due to its proximity to the park, students and professors from COA continue to conduct research within park boundaries. They assist park resource staff in inventorying, monitoring, and managing a variety of natural resources throughout the park. Often assisting in monitoing many of Acadia's smaller islands that surround Mount Desert Island.

University of Maine

As the flagship unviersity in the state, Acadia has a very strong relationship with the University of Maine. Professors at the university take advantage of the scientifc laboratory that is Acadia National Park. A variety of their own research projects happen within park boundaries. There are also many professors that work with Acadia National Park staff to conduct critical research projects in the park. Many of these projects are helping Acadia make management decisions into the future in response to the affects of climate change.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute has a long standing relationship with Acadia National Park. Every year, students of WPI work together with educators from the school to assist Acadia National Park with visitor use issues. Together with park officials, students from the school work on creative soultions to increasing accessibility thoughout the park for visitors to Acadia.


Internal NPS Partners

Northeast Temperate Network

The NPS Northeast Temperate Network helps its member parks including Acadia better understand the parks ecosystems, waters, and other natural resources through long-term monitoring and periodic inventories. The Northeast Temperate Network collects, manages, and translates high quality information about the condition of natural resources so that Acadia National Park leadership can make better-informed management decisions. This information is also valuable for supporting research projects, providing educational opportunities, and promoting better public understanding of park natural resources.

North Atlantic Coast Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU)

The North Atlantic Coast CESU is part of a national network of biogeographic programs established to provide research, technical assistance and education to federal land management, environmental and research agencies. The CESUs will generate collaborations among federal managers and policy-makers, federal researchers and the academic community to help foster innovative thinking to tackle management issues throughout many different parks and agencies including Acadia National Park.


Collaborations with Non-profits and Land Trusts

Downeast Conservation Network

The Downeast Conservation Network works throught Hancock and Washington Counties to help agencies, organizations, non-profits, and individuals working on conservations in the region. They provide resources and analysis of conservation needs and help establish the right partnerships between groups to tackle pressing conservation issues.


Earthwatch helps connects community members of the world to different scientists working on a variety of research projects. These connections help researchers continue their work while allowing participants to gain empowerment in local and abroad conservation projects. Earthwatch participates with researchers in Acadia National Park to further research efforts that will help the park make management decisions while allows visitors to connect to this remarkable place.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust

Maine Coast Heritage Trust works tirelessly to protect and manage a variety land trusts and sanctuary throughout the Maine Coast. Due to this relationship, MCHT helps facilitate partnerships between a variety of organizations who help conserve critical habitats along the coast including Acadia National Park.

Native Plant Trust

Acadia National Park works closely with the Native Plant Trust to monitor, protest and help restore native plants throughout the park. The trust also helps provide resources to help educate and support the public in how best to support native plants in their parks but also local support as well.

Somes Mynell Wildlife Sanctuary

Somes Mynell Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that protects land and water, conducts environmental research, and provides education programs in the Long Pond watershed on Mount Desert Island. Staff and volunteers from Somes Mynell also work closely with the park monitoring nesting loon populations and spawning alewife numbers in a variety of watersheds around the park.


Tribal, State, and Federal Government Partners

The National Park Service has a government-to-government relationship with the 4 federally-recognized Wabanaki tribeal nations including the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Houlton Band of Maliseets, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkokmikuk and Sipayik, and the Penobscot Nation.

Acadia National Park and the State of Maine agencies work in tandem with other federal agencies to support the National Park Service.


More About Acadia's Science Partnerships

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    Last updated: April 5, 2023

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