Our Mission

AIO introduces young people to the exciting world of marine science through a unique hands-on curriculum that combines biological, physical and chemical oceanography with field, classroom, offshore, and laboratory work.

Who Attends AIO?

Every summer more than 165 young people attend AIO from all over the United States and around the world. Students attend individual sessions limited to 44 students and spend two exciting weeks working together with our experienced staff.

For more than 30 years, AIO has offered students the opportunity to study oceanography through its summer programs. Mount Desert Island is the perfect place to study marine ecology because the cool Labrador Current brings minerals from the north to feed the food chains of coastal 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 marshes present new environments and species for study. All of these diverse environments are within a few miles of AIO.

At the heart of the AIO program is an experienced and qualified core of educators trained in the field of oceanography. These are classroom teachers, practicing scientists, and researchers — many with advanced graduate degrees. 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.