Why Study Marine Biology at UMM?

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A Hands-On Approach

From the very beginning of your academic career at UMM, you will work closely with your professors both in the laboratory and in the field. We offer unique opportunities for student-centered undergraduate research, examining local marine organisms and their ecosystems. Our faculty specialize in teaching outdoors to enhance hands-on learning. Through regular field experiences, you will learn about the biology and ecology of marine plants and animals inhabiting the ocean, rocky shores, tidal pools, marshes, mudflats, and other marine environments of our region.

Marine Biology Students

In addition to the abundant local field sites, UMM has excellent laboratory facilities including an aquaculture laboratory, a marine field station, a high tech molecular lab, and an NSF-funded Geographic Information Systems lab.  Working in these facilities will allow you to gain important skills for analyzing a wide variety of exciting biological phenomena.

UMM’s program in Marine Biology offers you a hands-on approach to the fascinating field of marine science. The rich experiences you have here will provide you with skills highly valued by employers.

>> Learn More about our Applied Research in Marine Biology

A Personal Approach

The faculty are extremely knowledgeable, dedicated professionals who will share their research, expertise, and passion for the field with you. They will serve as your advisors and will guide you in structuring your education to best develop your talents and assure attainment of your educational goals. Our courses are rigorous and of the highest quality so you will have the expertise to succeed in whatever career you pursue.

Beyond the classroom, our faculty encourage students to actively participate in ongoing research projects.  Current faculty research covers wide ranging interests including shellfish culturing and benthic ecology, whole genome sequencing of softshell clams, immune system genetics of Atlantic Salmon, seaweed culturing, invasive species monitoring, water quality analyses, and many other projects.

World Renowned Beauty

Marine Biology Students

"Since I left Machias, there is not one person to whom I did not express my enthusiasm for the beauty of what I saw, the incredible intensity of biodiversity, the pure marvel of landscapes.

Is there a better place in America to study Marine Biology?

You have the oceans, rivers and lakes, the richness of fauna and flora, the wilderness, the harsh weather as well as the explosion of life in spring and summer. You can explore, discover and be directly in contact with nature. It was striking to me that it is such a perfect place for studying!"

--Francine Cousteau, President, The Cousteau Society of the United States

UMM is uniquely located at the headwaters of the Machias River estuary on the Downeast coast of Maine. Far from the bright lights of the city, Machias is an ideal location for studying marine organisms. On the shore of the spectacular Gulf of Maine and the nearby Bay of Fundy, the ocean will be your classroom.

Preparation for Careers in Marine Biology

Graduate with Hip-Waders

As the Earth's population grows, we become more dependent on the ocean, both as a food source and as a key to the health of the entire planet. As the ocean faces ever increasing demands on its finite resources, people with a background in marine biology are more and more in demand.  During your coursework at UMM you will obtain valuable real-world marine biology experience through participation in the Department of Marine Resources’ toxic phytoplankton monitoring program, MIMIC’s invasive marine species monitoring program, EMARC’s Atlantic Salmon restoration project, and NOAA’s Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

In addition to coursework, we offer you practical, work-based learning experiences. There are a number of scientific and commercial marine biology centers through which you can obtain internships.  UMM has an on-going partnership with the Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education (DEI), where you can conduct shellfish research, and many students have completed internships and volunteer work in finfish culture at EMARC (East Machias Aquaculture Research Center).

Whether your interests lie in marine education, fisheries science, aquaculture, or you decide to continue your studies for a graduate degree, UMM’s experience oriented Marine Biology program will prepare you well for a career in such areas as:

Marine Education

  • Interpreter/naturalist in public aquaria, whale-watch vessels, recreation or conservation areas, museums
  • Outdoor environmental educator or public school educator

Marine Biologist Technician

  • Biologist hired by federal, state, or local marine natural resource agencies to monitor water quality, harmful algal blooms, shellfish health, ground fishery stocks, endangered populations, or invasive species
  • Biologist for fishery observer monitoring (from Alaska to Texas, all coastal states, and other coastal nations)
  • Biologist hired by private companies for environmental monitoring


  • Culture specialist and display designer for public aquaria
  • Hatchery technician, culturing various economically important organisms (shellfish, finfish, seaweed)
  • Shellfish, finfish, or seaweed farmer/entrepreneur


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