Gulfwatch: Blue Mussel Collection

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Fast Facts: What is Gulfwatch?Volunteers smile for the camera along a section of rocky coastline, holding blue mussels and mussel collection equipment.

Gulfwatch is a program of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. The program's goal is to measure chemical contamination throughout the Gulf of Maine. The blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) is used as an indicator species to detect levels of contamination. Because blue mussels are long-lived and sedentary, their body concentrations of contaminants reflect local environmental conditions over time. In New Hampshire, CRV volunteers work with UNH's Dr. Steve Jones help with the collection of mussels, which are then processed and analyzed for contaminants.


Volunteer Description: What do Gulfwatch volunteers do?

Volunteer Experience: Volunteers join Dr. Steve Jones and CRV staff in the field along New Hampshire's coastline. Volunteers will be briefly trained in the mussel collection protocols, and will then work together to collect mussel samples.

Time Frame: Volunteers should expect to spend about two hours on Gulfwatch mussel collection.

Project Impacts: Mussels collected by volunteers will be analyzed for contaminants. Gulfwatch is a long-running monitoring program, allowing researchers to assess changing contaminant levels throughout the Gulf of Maine over multiple decades.


  • Interest in spending a couple hours along the coastline, including tidepools, rocky shore, marshes, and beaches


  • Meet people from your community with similar interests
  • Learn about creatures found along New Hampshire's coastline
  • Contribute to a long-term dataset used to understand Gulf of Maine contaminant concentrations

Questions? For more information, contact Wells.


Upcoming Opportunities: Join our Gulfwatch volunteer events!

Gulfwatch events tend to happen in mid- to late fall. Keep an eye on our website or sign up for our newsletter to find out when events are scheduled!


Learn More: Links, resources, and partner organizations

Learn more about Gulfwatch on the Gulf of Maine Council website, check out some of the peer reviewed publications that have been produced with Gulfwatch data, or learn a bit more about blue mussels.


Volunteers walk along a stretch of salt marsh carrying mussel collection equipment.


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