Shoals Ecology: Seabirds, Seals & Seaweed

The best of everything Shoals has to offer! An adult program geared towards science exploration in three subject areas: ornithology, marine mammals, and the ocean ecosystem as a whole. This is the perfect program for adults who have never been to the Isles of Shoals, and for those who want to return to their island ecology roots!

Seabirds, Seals, Seaweed


Learn about the seabirds of the Isles of Shoals, including nesting terns and two species of gulls. The Appledore Island Migration Banding Station will be open for those of you interested in migrating songbirds and bird banding. 

Marine Mammals

Dive into the depths of marine mammal science... acoustics, photo-identification, behavior, and more! The Duck Island seal colony (harbor seals and gray seals) is just 1 nautical mile north of Appledore Island. Learn about on-going research conducted by SML scientists to study this population of seals. Early September is also whale watching season in New England, with opportunities to travel aboard SML's research vessels in search of minke whales, fin whales, and humpback whales!

Ocean Ecology

Explore the full range of ocean ecosystem topics, from tide pool seaweeds, to planktonic life in the world's oceans. You will have the opportunity to see and use specialized oceanographic equipment and help deploy it from SML's research vessels. 

Additional Information
  • Participants should be prepared for time aboard research vessels and moderate-to-strenuous hikes around Appledore Island to various field sites.
  • This program is intended for adults looking to continue their science education or pursue a passion for the marine environment. No university credits are awarded. Families with kids should consider our SeaSHOALS: Marine Science for Families program.
  • If three days, two nights is too adventurous, consider a day-trip Appledore Island Walking Tour, with tons of natural history information packed into just one afternoon!

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellation received

  • At least 30 days before departure = 100% refund
  • 29-15 days before departure =  50% refund
  • Less than 15 days before departure = 0%


Research Professor, Sea Education Association (SEA Semester)
Dr. Zettler has been part of the Shoals family for over 20 years, having served as faculty for SML courses: Oceanography in the Gulf of Maine (1995-8), Field Marine Science (SML's flagship course, from 2003-2010), and Field Microbial Ecology (2007). With experience on over 50 research and teaching cruises aboard reseach vessels and tallships, Dr. Zettler's oceanography knowledge is second to none!
Lecturer, UMass Boston; Faculty, Marine Studies Consortium; Research Associate, New England Aquarium
Dr. Lysiak is the faculty member for SML's Marine Mammal Biology course for undergraduates, as well as a research mentor for SML's Marine Mammal Internship program. 

Elizabeth Craig, Ph.D.
Program Manager, Tern Conservation Program, Shoals Marine Laboratory; Lecturer, University of New Hampshire
Dr. Craig has joined the SML community after completing her Ph.D. in Zoology and Wildlife Conservation and Postdoc in Natural Resources at Cornell University. Dr. Craig is an ornithologist and colonial waterbird biologist who specializes in conservation management, population dynamics, and foraging ecology of seabirds. She has taught topics ranging from ornithology to natural resource ethics at Columbia and Cornell Universities, and will be teaching Aquatic Animal Diversity at UNH this coming year.


Event Type


Price is per person. Includes room and all meals, snacks and beverages, all program activities, and round-trip boat fare between Portsmouth, NH and Appledore Island. This program is open to all adults 18 years and older.


(603) 862-5346
White Island Lighthouse by Jim Coyer