Nantucket Harbor


LivingLabs (founded by Anamarija Frankic) are practical, solution driven responses to growing environmental, social and economic challenges. LivingLabs teach how to address, develop, and implement unique holistic solutions to environmental issues at a local level. They provide students with opportunities for hands-on transdisciplinary applied research experience; they address local community needs; and they provide solutions through innovative disciplines like green chemistry and biomimicry: mimicking nature’s own adaptations to environmental challenges. Students and community participants involved with LivingLabs develop professional networks through internships at NGOs, business, and government agencies, as well as with their LivingLabs advisors, mentors, and peers. LivingLabs are self-sustainable educational, research and outreach program that are part of the 

Nantucket Island is a pilot site for the LivingLabs, innovative educational programs for teaching and learning by doing concrete projects with local communities. The spring '13 semester, from January 20 until April 20, Nantucket became a science laboratory for a group of 16 University of Massachusetts Boston undergraduates participating in this unique environmental program that offers courses for students studying the earth and ocean sciences, including biomimicry research and education. GHP Director and Biomimicry Fellow Anamarija Frankic, will serve as one of the key faculty in the program, teaching the capstone, independent project classes and biomimicry. (Spring 2013 Syllabus).

As an island, Nantucket is an example of a unique environmental setting where sustainable practices can be learned and applied to model how these vulnerable communities can adapt with nature to meet environmental challenges such as changing climate. Participants will learn about the resiliency and tenacity of coastal and island ecosystems, and how to emulate linked ecological and human services for a sustainable future.

Nantucket: Coastal System

Island’s Coastal Vulnerability: Status and Trends

The Coastal System Capstone Team is based on three independent research projects, each trying to capture the local adaptations to climate change, while improving coastal conditions, so that natural health and resilience can support human adaptations and resilience. Abstract.

Independent Study Projects

Sea level rise and erosion on Nantucket Island. Poster - Amy Meloski

The shifting sand on Nantucket. Poster - Shannon Murphy

Status and trends of Medouie Creek salt marsh, Nantucket Island. Poster -Travis Lowery


Nantucket: Human System

Resilience: an art of balancing human and ecological services and functions.

This Capstone team is comprised of four amazing students with their independent studies addressing human-nature coupling systems. Why does it have to be so hard to work together and be healthy, wealthy and sustainable? The fact is: this young generation inherited unacceptable  environmental and social issues; the good news is they are smarter and are fixing it. Abstract

Independent Study Topics

Nantucket’s Sustainability: how to measure a carrying capacity for humans? Poster - Timchi Khamdy

Responsible Landscapingon Nantucket Island: How to best manage use of fertilizers? Poster - Llewin Froome

Engaging with nature through sustainable recreation. Poster - Jeremy Raynor

Media, the Environment and Nantucket. Poster - Connor McKay

Nantucket: Salt Marsh System

Salt marsh resilience at three Nantucket Island sites.

This Capstone team is addressing the salt marsh resilience at three sites: a) Restored marsh at Medouie; b) Less impacted natural marsh at Folger’s; and c) Highly impacted natural marsh at the Creeks. Abstract

Independent Study Topics

Salt marsh zonation on Nantucket Island. Poster - Rubio Rodriguez  

Disturbance of sea wracks and sand on Nantucket salt marshes. Poster - Sam Byer

Salt marsh primary productivity. Poster - Jesse Bean

Nantucket: Shellfish System

Sustainable shellfishing: linking the whole system science through community engagement and outreach

This Capstone team of three inspired students doing their independent research studies is addressing one of the most important traditional activity on Nantucket: shellfishing of bay scallops. Is it sustainable? What can we learn from nature to make our activities more sustainable? Abstract.

Independent Study Topics

Geochemistry and a bay scallop shelf: a winning combination. Poster - Richard Corrado

Policy and management of the Nantucket whelk (conch) fisheries. Poster - Sophia Bass Werner  

Shellfishing and by-catch: Conch and bay scallops. Poster - Robert Capossela

Nantucket: Water System

Protecting the groundwater to protect the Island's natural resources.

This Capstone student project is based on the three indpendent studies that are focusing on Nantucket Island's water system; including ground water assessments and eutrophication issues casued by access nutrients, mainly from anthropogenic sources. While addressing existing and potential solutions, students are also asking: How would nature solve to much nutrients in water? Abstract

Independent Study Topic

Monitoring groundwater’s nitrate and phosphate on Nantucket Island. Poster - Amelia Atwood

How would nature combat eutrophication? Poster - Nicole Magnano  

Harmful Algal Blooms in Nantucket Harbor. Poster - Sarah Jacobs