Home » Science: We help you see what is going on beneath the surface of the Bay

Science: We help you see what is going on beneath the surface of the Bay

Before we started monitoring the water quality of Casco Bay, no one knew how healthy or polluted the Bay actually was. Thanks to the data we have been collecting at dozens of shoreside and offshore sites, we can state that the water temperature of Casco Bay has risen by 2.5°F, on average, since 1993.

Our long-term data set is enhanced by our Continuous Monitoring Station that has been monitoring the health of the Bay hourly, 365 days a year, since 2016. Anchored below a pier in Yarmouth, it provides the frequent, high-volume stream of data necessary to accurately track changes that may impact the oysters, clams, lobsters, and eelgrass within the Bay.

“Climate change is happening so rapidly, we needed to add to the way we collect data,” observed Research Associate Mike Doan. Since July 20, 2016, our Continuous Monitoring Station has been gathering data around the clock, all year long. Each month, we post information on 10 measures that document water quality at our monitoring site in Yarmouth, near the coastal midpoint of Casco Bay. 

Our Monitoring Station is fondly nicknamed the “Cage of Science” because its high-tech sensors are housed inside a converted lobster trap. These instruments measure temperature, salinity, oxygen, pH, carbon dioxide, and more.

These data help us gain new insights—and new questions–on the health of the Bay. Others are finding these data useful, too. Scientists use our data to inform their own research. Policy makers refer to our data to support legislative action on climate change. Classroom teachers have their students analyze our data to launch discussions on what humans can do to improve water quality. Recently, we discovered that young visitors to the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine measure the temperature and salinity of the Museum’s touch tank and compare their readings to our real-world data on Casco Bay.

We have posted our data online for all to see. Visit cascobay.org to see for yourself how Casco Bay is changing month by month.

The news media have recently reported on our plan to expand our array of Continuous Monitoring Stations to get a better understanding of the dynamics of Casco Bay:

Warming Waters Are Hot Topic

November 10, 2020

  Day after day, we watched temperature records being set. This year has been hotter than usual. Out of the first 243 days of this year, January through August, 2020,  132 days exhibited a daily average temperature higher than established for that day in any of the prior four years, 2016… Read more

What Casco Bay is telling us

November 3, 2020

We had a lively and informative What Casco Bay is telling us: a Casco Bay Matters Event as more than 100 Friends joined us for the conversation. Here is a video of the event, for those of you who were not able to attend live or would like to relisten.… Read more

Join us for What is Casco Bay telling us?

October 8, 2020

This year has been unprecedented. Casco Bay is exhibiting changing conditions that may impact our community, marine heritage, and our economy in years to come. Join Executive Director Cathy Ramsdell, Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca, and Staff Scientist Mike Doan for a conversation about what we have been seeing out on… Read more

What warming waters could mean for Casco Bay

October 7, 2020

  This year has been one of the warmest on record. Why is that bad for the health of Casco Bay? Check out this short video as Staff Scientist Mike Doan takes a quick dive into our Continuous Monitoring Station’s data to share one of the biggest reasons we should be… Read more

Donate to Climate Change and Casco Bay Fund

September 9, 2020

We are 96% of our way to our $1.5 million goal! Help us go over the top! Friends of Casco Bay is creating a $1.5 million fund to be used over the next ten years to understand how Casco Bay is being affected by climate change. We will launch and… Read more

Keeping up with the Casco Baykeeper

September 4, 2020

For Casco Baykeeper Ivy Frignoca, the summer has been full of moments of concern and moments of magic. How was your summer? Summer means being on the Bay! Staff Scientist Mike Doan and I continued to collect our seasonal data on the health of Casco Bay by land and sea.… Read more