Marine Environmental Research Institute
The Marine Environmental Research Institute (MERI) is dedicated to scientific research and education on the impacts of pollution on marine life and human health, and to protecting the health and biodiversity of the marine environment for future generations. Through its program initiatives, MERI addresses the problems of ocean pollution, unsustainable coastal development, species and habitat degradation, and environmental emergencies (toxic spills, releases) affecting marine life and people.
The world's oceans, while critical to life on earth, are barely understood and at present, less than 1% of our oceans are protected from pollution, overfishing, dragging, drilling, and other destructive human activities. Throughout the ocean environment, signs of deterioration are apparent: the collapse of global fish stocks, coastal dead zones; toxic chemical runoff and plastic debris; ocean acidification and global warming from excess carbon emissions; dying coral reefs; reproductive problems among seabirds; and cancer and mass mortalities among marine mammals.
MERI is a nonprofit charitable organization founded by Dr. Susan Shaw in 1990 to increase understanding of the impacts of ocean pollution on the health of marine mammals along the North American Pacific and Atlantic coasts. MERI accomplishes its goals through scientific research, ecosystem monitoring, and education outreach. The challenge is to develop a worldwide commitment to environmental stewardship that will protect ocean ecosystems before chemical contamination of marine life has progressed beyond the point of no return.
“It is unimaginable to most of us that our children might grow up and inherit a polluted world where marine animals and other wildlife could not survive. At MERI we believe that through a common vision, collaborative research and education outreach, we can reverse this trend.”
– Dr. Susan D. Shaw, MERI Founder 1991
MERI is a scientific organization specifically focused on documenting the contamination of marine wildlife by man-made toxic chemicals and bringing this information to policymakers and a broad public. MERI’s landmark research along the northwest Atlantic coast has created an extensive body of data that places this large marine ecosystem in a global perspective and is influencing toxics legislation in the US and internationally. MERI’s work addressing chemical contamination of the ocean environment has been recognized with awards from the State of Maine Legislature and the Gulf of Maine Council representing New England states and Atlantic Canada.