Shoals Ecology: Seabirds, Seals & Seaweed

ATTENTION: Registration is open for 2022 Public Programs! Please review our 2022 COVID Safety Plan. If you have any questions, please contact us at Thank you!

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 ongoing 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 pools and seaweeds to planktonic life and charismatic megafauna You will have the opportunity to see and use specialized oceanographic equipment and help deploy it from SML's research vessels. 


Island Environment: Appledore Island is a rugged landscape with uneven, slightly steep and rocky paths. Access on/off the island is via a floating dock, a steep ramp, and a set of stairs. Sturdy walking shoes are required. Please review our Safety at Shoals page for any questions about boat safety, island terrain, medical access, or dietary needs.

  • 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 interested in learning more about 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!

Departure from Portsmouth, NH:


Departure from SML:


Please note: Participants should anticipate the total boat transit time to be approximately 90 minutes.

SML boats will run rain or shine, so long as the captain deems it safe to travel. Passengers should come prepared with appropriate clothing in the event of rain or high winds (ocean spray). If the captain deems travel unsafe, boats schedules may be impacted until the weather passes. Communications regarding any weather-related delays will come via email and telephone from SML's main office.

Cancellation Received:

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


Mark Wiley
Assistant Director for Marine Education, NH Sea Grant; UNH Cooperative Extension State Specialist for Science Literacy, Youth/Family; Director of the UNH Marine Docent Program

Mark Wiley has been a member of the Shoals family for over 30 years, having first visited Appledore Island as a college student in one of SML's marine science courses! Mark works at UNH as part of NH Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension, directing marine education programs. Mark taught high school biology, environmental science, and math for 10 years at the Tilton School in New Hampshire, and has designed professional development for educators at Measured Progress. He has extensive experience aboard research vessels and in the rocky intertidal zone of New England's coasts, and has a master's degree in natural resource management from the University of New Hampshire. Additionally, Mark serves as a faculty member for SML's Marine Science for Teachers workshop as well as a mentor for undergraduates in SML's Science Education Internship.


Elizabeth Craig, Ph.D.
Director of Seabird Science, Tern Conservation Program, Shoals Marine Laboratory; Lecturer, University of New Hampshire
Dr. Liz Craig has joined the SML community after completing her Ph.D. in Zoology and Wildlife Conservation and Postdoc in Natural Resources at Cornell University. Liz 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 an Aquatic Animal Diversity course at the University of New Hampshire.


Nadine Stewart J Lysiak, PhD
Nadine is an Assistant Professor of Marine Ecology at Suffolk University and a member of the Faculty at the Shoals Marine Lab where she teaches courses on ecology, evolution, and marine mammal science. Nadine conducts research on large whale foraging ecology, stress and reproductive physiology, and migration behavior. Her research focuses on retrospective chemical analysis of baleen. Nadine posts periodic updates about her research and field work, as well as marine science related content on her blog, Sea of Diamonds.  You can also find her on LinkedIn and ResearchGate.

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%


Event Type


Price is per person. All-inclusive with: overnight accommodations, all meals, snacks and beverages, all program activities, and round-trip boat transportation between Portsmouth, NH, and Appledore Island. Space is limited due to our vessel and housing capacities, so reserve your spot soon! This program is open to adults 18 years of age and up.


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