Acadia Institute of Oceanography

Marine Science Camps

Every summer, more than 200 young people attend AIO from all over the United States and around the world. Students attend sessions limited to 44 students and spend two exciting weeks (intermediate and advanced programs) working together with our experienced staff. Each summer, students will spend one week (Introductory session) or two weeks (Intermediate or Advance session) on the coast of Maine.

While one group of students finishes a profile of the beach, another group collects specimens for the cold water tanks in our wet lab. Still other students might be busy focusing their binoculars on offshore seabirds and cetaceans. Each evening our staff or visiting speakers present special lectures that provide background information for the field activities, and mini-seminars about topics in oceanography are offered daily before dinner. There are also optional morning lessons in laboratory techniques. And all two-week session students design and maintain a saltwater aquarium.

At the heart of the AIO program is a qualified core of educators trained in the field of oceanography. These are classroom teachers, practicing scientists, and researchers — many with advanced graduate degrees. Careers in marine science are competitive and our strong hands-on, educational program can make you a knowledgeable steward for the oceans while giving you an edge in today’s job market. The student to instructor ratio is approximately four to one. Other staff members include a full-time nurse, a professional chef, recreation coordinator, and interns.

The 2024 registrations will open in October. Sessions fill quickly so check back at that time to secure your spot.

“At the heart of the AIO program is a qualified core of educators trained in the field of oceanography.”

Where is AIO?

AIO is located in the picturesque, seaside village of Seal Harbor, Maine, on Mount Desert Island.

Why Maine?

Mount Desert Island — also home to Acadia National Park — is the perfect location to study ocean ecology because the cold Labrador current brings nutrients from the north to feed the food chains of the Gulf of Maine. Waters are rich in plankton and there are many species of fish and marine mammals. Offshore dredges yield sediments full of benthic life. Rivers and estuaries serve as ocean nurseries. Rocky tidal pools shelter invertebrates and small fish. And mud flats and saltmarshes present new environments and species for study. All of these diverse environments are within a few miles of AIO.

We are…

• Next door to Acadia National Park
• 3 blocks from the town pier, beach, and the Gulf of Maine
• ½ mile from wetlands, lakes, and ponds
• 20 miles from whales
• 284 miles to Boston
• 493 to New York City
• 1798 to Miami

Accommodations and Recreation

AIO is housed in the vintage 1931 Dunham Schoolhouse, built by John D. Rockefeller as a gift to the village of Seal Harbor. A classic American red brick schoolhouse, the building has been carefully restored and updated to offer clean and comfortable accommodations. Three of the large classrooms have been converted into open dormitories and students sleep on bunk beds. The schoolhouse also includes a lecture hall, recreation room, a research wet laboratory, library, director’s office, nurse’s office, dining room, bathrooms, and showers.

The academic schedule is designed to allow time each day for recreational activities as well as plenty of free time to read, write letters, socialize, and relax.