Jane E. Disney, PhD

Primary Institution:
Mount Desert Island Biological Lab
Senior Staff Scientist
Current SEPA Project

My research involves studying and restoring eelgrass populations in Frenchman Bay using a community-based approach. I am collaborating with a variety of community and regional partners, including Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Alfred University to evaluate the efficacy of various methods of restoration. Together we are mapping eelgrass recovery over time. I am collaborating with Bev Johnson, Ph.D. (Bates College) to determine carbon stocks in restored and unrestored eelgrass areas and carbon sequestration rates in areas around Mt. Desert Island, an endeavor that may help with efforts to garner state-level support for eelgrass conservation. Finally, I study water quality in areas from which we harvest eelgrass for transplantation, at our restoration sites, and in surrounding areas to understand the impact of changing environmental conditions on eelgrass.

I help coordinate the activities of the Frenchman Bay Partners, a group of stakeholders including fishermen, aquaculture industry representatives, nonprofit organizations, education and research institutions, and individual community members who are working together to ensure a healthy future for Frenchman Bay. Eelgrass is one of the four conservation targets the group has prioritized.

As director of the Community Environmental Health Laboratory (CEHL), I oversee recruitment of volunteers to participate in a variety of citizen science initiatives, including eelgrass mapping and restoration. In addition, I oversee outreach and education initiatives in schools in Maine and New Hampshire. My staff and I are working with teachers, students, and community partners in these states to help them understand the relationship between surface water and ground water and the impacts of contaminants such as arsenic on human health. We are engaging them in well water testing for trace elements and community outreach and education projects about well water contaminant issues and mitigation strategies.

Associated SEPA Project(s)