Shoals Marine Lab Summer Research

Program description

Grants for students to work on projects at Shoals Marine Lab full time during the summer. The Lab is on Appledore Island off the coast of Maine and includes research facilities and classrooms in addition to living space for faculty, students, and staff. Students interested in the program should work with a Dartmouth faculty mentor to develop a research proposal in marine biology, sustainability, earth sciences, or environmental engineering. Faculty mentors are expected to be in frequent contact throughout the project and will travel to the island for several days during the summer. Small groups of students (2-3) have the option to submit a group proposal as some projects may be more appropriate for a team rather than an individual. Faculty who have supervised projects at Shoals include Professors Celia Chen and Mark Laidre from the Department of Biological Sciences.  

For an insider's perspective on research at Shoals Marine Lab, check out the DUJS article by Leah Valdes '18 and Professor Mark Laidre.

Listen to these interviews with Professor Mark Laidre and past and present members of the Laidre Lab. (Episodes 6 and 7 of the podcast series.)


  • The island is only open for research in the summer.
  • Grants are intended for current undergraduates.
    • In some cases, applications may be considered from students who will graduate at the end of spring term (just prior to the summer term of research). 
  • Applicants must be in good standing with the college and eligible to participate in college-sponsored programs. 
  • If you have questions about your eligibility, contact the Biological Sciences department.

Application deadline

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis during spring term

Application checklist

1. Student application (submitted as an email attachment to Biological Sciences)

  • Cover page
  • Research proposal
    • What is the goal of the project
    • Why is the project important and what will it contribute to the field
    • Discuss relevant literature and/or previous work in the area
    • Describe the methodology for the project (include the hypothesis and plans for analysis and interpretation of the findings)
  • Preparation and adaptability
    • Describe your preparation for the project (coursework, research experiences, etc.)
    • Describe your understanding of the Shoals Marine Lab facility and how you will adapt to the island's small size and relative isolation.
  • References: include a list of the references cited in your proposal

2. Faculty recommendation

  • Process:
    • The student downloads the recommendation form shoals_recommendation.docx
    • The student completes the applicant section and sends the completed form to their faculty research mentor 
    • The faculty mentor completes the faculty section and then submit the form as an email attachment to Biological Sciences
  • Questions on the faculty recommendation form:
    • How long and in what capacity have you known the student?
    • What is your evaluation of the feasibility and quality of the proposed research, and the student's ability to complete the project successfully?
    • What was your role in developing the project and what do you expect your role to be as the student's research mentor during the summer?
    • Have you visited the Shoals Marine Lab? If so, provide a brief description of your visit (including the length of your visit and your impression of the facility and location).
    • How many days do you plan to spend at Shoals over the summer with your student?
    • Do you have any concerns about this student spending the full summer on the island given the small size and relative isolation of the facility?