Date of Award

Summer 8-31-2017

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Laura N. Rickard

Second Committee Member

Bridie McGreavy

Third Committee Member

Laura Lindenfeld

Additional Committee Members

Jessica Leahy


As a society we realize that the dynamic needs of science and society are often complex and interdependent and that there is a need to work with and across diverse expertise and practices in order to create the development of new methods and to provide innovative solutions to socially relevant work. Thus, we call collaborative research efforts into action. Maine’s Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET) is such an endeavor, as it is a collaborative effort traversing a nexus of complex, dynamic challenges in Maine, including issues related to socio-economic shifts, climate change, and declining capture fisheries. While SEANET’s plan to incorporate a collaborative approach aims to achieve an inspiring, sustainable end-goal it provides only a high-level map for how to get there, and includes few explicit directions. Following the need to better understand such an effort, this thesis considers the interdisciplinary collaboration on the team and provides both action-orientated and theoretical insights.

The following thesis is an analysis of the individuals and teams involved in this sustainability science minded project. More specifically, this research informs strategies of improvement for the SEANET team while also adding to the scholarly conversation on interdisciplinary collaborations through the use of both quantitative methods and qualitative methods. In the first part of this study, an online survey was distributed to assess the current communication preferences and engagement needs of the team. Compiled into a technical report, this chapter is aligned with the needs of team, and the NSF strategic plan in place, to foster informed collaborative processes moving forward. The second part of this study entailed the use of interviews to better understand how team members contend with deeply normative dimensions of interdisciplinary success. This chapter provides insight into how scientists and research agencies involved in sustainability science minded interdisciplinary teams might shape research agendas and their relationship to society moving forward.