Larry Mayer has long contributed to the mission of the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center and its community. In fall 2019, he retired after 43 years of research and teaching -- but that doesn’t mean that he’s taking it easy.
Shortly following his retirement, Mayer taught a senior college course hosted at the DMC. The course, titled “Humans and the Ever-changing Coast,” focused on how people impact the oceans. Twenty senior citizens from throughout the area who are passionate to learn more about challenges faced in the marine environment joined Mayer for lectures and discussions at the DMC every Thursday.
Mayer emphasized the importance of optimism and understanding the issues. According to him, “this course was different than teaching undergraduate and graduate students. We focused more on discussion than on getting a certain amount of material covered or developing job skills.”
The DMC is an important place for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and learn about the ocean. Mayer has always enjoyed playing a role at the marine laboratory and its community. In reminiscing about his time at the DMC, Mayer expressed “the Darling Center is a really exciting place with an exciting mission. The Center helps people of all ages connect with the ocean by enabling them to directly experience it.”
Leading up to his retirement, Mayer was a professor of Oceanography in UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences and an active researcher at the DMC. He began at the DMC in 1976 and combined his background in chemistry and geology with the center’s focus on marine science. During some times of the year, he commuted weekly (and sometimes more often) to Orono to teach, preferring to travel the scenic two-hour route on his motorcycle, as much as the weather allowed. Mayer also worked on a variety of citizen science projects involving water quality and estuarine health, contributing to the development of the Maine Coastal Observing Alliance and other initiatives led by Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust.
Looking ahead, Mayer will continue teaching his senior college course and volunteering his time to work with graduate students and colleagues. “I really enjoy working with the students,” he said. “and will keep at it long as I can!”