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By Caroline Stamm '24
  • Shoals Marine Laboratory
  • Animal Science

Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML) is a remote field station located on Appledore Island, Gulf of Maine, jointly operated by Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire.

As a leader in marine science undergraduate education, SML offers endless learning and research opportunities for students, interns, and members of the broader scientific community. We sat down with Eugene Won, Academic Coordinator for SML, Senior Research Associate in Animal Science, and Lindsay Glasner, Animal Science Undergraduate Program Coordinator who participated in SML as a Cornell undergraduate, to learn more about the research and student opportunities at SML.

Can you shed some light on the partnership between Shoals Marine Lab and Cornell Animal Science?

Won:  Shoals Marine Lab is an undergraduate teaching facility and research station. In fact, Shoals is the biggest marine field station in the United States that is focused on undergraduate education. Every summer, we operate 15-20 classes. We organize a few high school classes but mostly focus on college-level coursework. 

Cornell Animal Science students that take classes at Shoals get to fulfill Cornell class requirements while being immersed in a unique learning environment.


Glasner:  I was lucky enough to take Shoals high school courses, spent many summers on the island as a Cornell undergraduate student and even served as a student employee. Shoals is a wonderful place for Animal Science students interested in marine biology to have immersive, hands-on experiences. Students can develop their own research experiments through the guidance and support of world-renowned faculty. The learning environment on the island is something you can’t replace. 

What is the Shoals semester program?

Won:  The Shoals Semester Program is a unique opportunity for students to stay on Appledore Island for the whole summer and take 12 or more credits. This program is amazing because you get to form closer relationships with faculty, fellow students, and experienced marine biologists. It’s recommended for students who are interested in pursuing a marine biology minor.

What research opportunities are available to students at Shoals?

Won:  Many of our classes culminate in field or lab research projects. Students who take Investigative Marine Biology Lab (BIOSM 1500), however, can also participate in our Research in Biology Apprenticeship (4990) to dive deeper into an independent research project under the guidance of resident career scientists. This teaches students all about experimental design, data collection and interpretation, and gives them credentials as they look for other research opportunities.

Students can also apply for 10-week paid internships. Our Shoals Undergraduate Research Group (SURG) has helped gather long-term datasets for seabirds, marine mammals, fisheries, and intertidal ecology around the Isles of Shoals. Students receive top-notch mentorship from marine science professionals and staff, and have access to our labs, sampling equipment, boats and a whole archipelago of islands!

What is your favorite part of Shoals?

Won:  It’s great to work with students who are interested and will benefit from marine biology experience. I also love watching the relationships between the faculty and students form and flourish.

Glasner:  I love everything about the program! Shoals has amazing faculty advisors, teachers, and acclaimed biologists to teach courses and lead research projects. You are learning amazing content, while also being immersed in the beautiful scenery. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

What are 3 things you would tell someone interested in applying to Shoals?

Eugene Won

  1. Shoals is so cool! It’s especially important for students who want off-campus fieldwork exposure.
  2. Finance should not be an obstacle! Shoals Marine Lab offers need-based financial aid for those who need it, as well as competitive Merit and Diversity scholarships.
  3. For students interested in marine science, ecology, and conservation, the classes and faculty at Shoals will aid in guiding them towards their career tracks.

Lindsay Glasner

  1. Living on the island is fun and rewarding, but challenging! After staying on the island, you will definitely start to think more sustainably.
  2. Bring a camera! The scenery is amazing.
  3. Finally, have fun! Each course is enjoyable in its own way, offering opportunities to learn and foster new relationships.
people on boat
student with fishing pole

Caroline Stamm '24 is an Animal Science major and student writer for the Cornell CALS Department of Animal Science.

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