Mussel Bed Mapping

Mussel beds are retreating deeper into the ocean. You can help keep track of them.

Mussel beds are inching towards more subtidal zones, and are becoming harder to spot. During extreme low tides, you might be able to get a glimpse. Send us your photos of mussel beds during two upcoming extreme low tides, and we will develop an acoustic mapping plan so we can keep track of where they are.

Project Goals:

  • Collect geolocated photos of mussel beds on two very low tide days.
  • Use the data to inform ongoing acoustic scanning research.
  • Update regional maps of mussel beds — they haven't been mapped ~20 years.

We need your help!

There are two extreme low tides this summer on July 6 at 8:00 a.m. and August 4 at 7:00 a.m. On those two days, within an hour of low tide, you can support ongoing research efforts by going out to the coast and taking photos. Submit your photos and whether or not you saw mussels through the form below.

For years now, mussel beds have been moving further offshore from the intertidal zone to the subtidal zone. Maine mussel farmers have been able to grow and harvest mussels on ropes, and because wild mussel harvesters have been able to find mussels in the subtidal zone, we know they are still around. The issue is that we can only see some of the edges of these mussel beds during extremely low tides. Another challenge is that the last time mussel beds were mapped was in the early 2000s by Maine Department Marine Resources (DMR).

By using acoustics to map out blue mussels (Mytilus edulis), Aaron hopes to learn more about what’s going on with mussels in the subtidal zone, but to do that he needs to know where to go.

There will be two very low tide days this summer: July 6 at 8:00 a.m. and August 4 at 7:00 a.m. On those two days, within an hour of low tide, we need folks like you to Show Us Your Mussels!

Contributing to this project is easy. Just head out to the coast, and take a picture (whether or not you see mussels), and email it to us. Make sure to let us know with if you did see mussels, and where you took your picture.

Aaron will aggregate your data and create a plan for where he perform acoustic measurements in Casco Bay this summer to map out the mussel beds.

Even though we are only doing this in Casco Bay this year, we welcome photos from all along the coast of Maine. Get out there and show us your mussels!

Project Team

Upcoming Mussel Bed Mapping Event

There will be an extreme low tide on August 4th. Explore the event below to learn more.

Read More

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