WABI (Channel 5) reported the U.S. Department of Education has selected the University of Maine to receive $250,000 in funding for The Mentoring and Advanced Preparation for Maine’s Early Intervention Scholars (MAPME) program. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced the award in a press release. The program will help Maine increase the number of highly qualified personnel prepared to meet the needs of young children and their families, particularly those with a high need, according to the release. “Early childhood education gives children across Maine the building blocks they need for a strong start in life. This important funding will help to ensure that our education professionals have the tools and training required to meet the needs of all students, particularly those who face unique educational challenges,” the senators said in a joint statement. The grant funding will allow UMaine to recruit and retain 54 scholars representing the diversity of Maine’s population, as well as implement a high-quality graduate study in early childhood special education by May 2020, according to WABI. The full release is online.
Bill Green of WLBZ (Channel 2) reported on the University of Maine School of Forest Resources’ three-week forestry summer camp. As part of the course, students used skyline logging in Acadia National Park to improve the views from scenic vistas along Park Loop Road. Skyline logging is a West Coast technique that involves stringing a cable down into a wooded section. Each tree that is cut is attached to the cable and brought up the hillside doing minimum damage to the forest floor, according to the report. “We’re not coming in and just removing trees. We’re doing it systematically. We’re thinking about everything around,” said Louis Morin, a forest resources instructor overseeing the students on the project.
WABI (Channel 5) and the Daily Bulldog reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a free tick identification service. Maine’s tick population has been growing steadily since the late 1980s, along with tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, according to the reports. UMaine Extension also provides information on tick removal and a photo gallery. Information on how to get a tick identified is available online or by calling 581.3880.
Rob Glover, an assistant professor of Honors and political science at the University of Maine, wrote an article for the Bangor Daily News titled “5 ways to keep recent college grads in the Bangor area.” The article cited research conducted by Glover’s students Cameron Huston, Sarah Nicols, Spencer Warmuth and Gareth Warr. The students worked in collaboration with the city of Bangor and city councilors to determine what makes recent UMaine graduates settle within the Bangor area. Glover says the city could help retain more college graduates by growing opportunities for internship and work experience; coordinating events and programming to get students to Bangor; marketing the downtown area; providing quality affordable housing; and supporting quality public school systems. The full study is online.
John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, gave early season gardening advice on WVII (Channel 7) over Memorial Day weekend. Jemison warned it may still be too soon for some crops. “The first thing that I would say that you don’t want to do is to try and go out and buy some transplants like tomatoes or peppers at this time of the year, bring them right out of the greenhouses and try to think you’re going to go put them in the ground. That’s going to be bad,” Jemison said, adding while some plants can withstand cooler temperatures, others may not bounce back from a cold night. He said plants such as carrots, leafy greens and anything from seed could probably be planted now.
Veterans and University of Maine students Ashley Wilson and Joseph Miller were quoted in a Bangor Daily News article about decreasing membership of veteran groups in Maine. Wilson, who retired from the Navy in January 2012 after eight years and two tours in Iraq, is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 3381 in Old Town. “Everyone has the same mindset,” she said. “You have that common ground and that common ground connects you.” Retired Army Ranger Joseph Miller, who served three tours in Iraq, said he sees the value of joining a military club for the camaraderie, but hasn’t found one that fits his needs. “It takes you a few years to realize you need a community,” Miller said. “When we get out we’re thinking education, getting a job.” The article also mentioned a recent UMaine talk by Dr. Jonathan Shay, a psychiatrist who specializes in treating combat veterans. Shay, who was the keynote speaker at the Maine Military and Community Network’s conference, said community plays a huge role in a successful homecoming. The Sun Journal also published the BDN article.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in the Kennebec Journal article “Maine’s Poliquin draws rave reviews, big donations for role on financial committee.” U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin is only the eighth Maine politician to sit on the House Financial Services Committee, which regulates real estate, banks and other sectors, according to the article. Brewer said the assignment could make Poliquin more vulnerable to attacks from Democrats. “I’ll make that trade,” Brewer said, adding it gives Poliquin a platform to “spout pretty standard and pretty popular Republican lines” on regulation.
Roy Ulrickson III, a graduate student in his final year of the University of Maine’s Master of Social Work program, wrote an opinion piece for the Bangor Daily News titled “Infrastructure to education: Ingredients for rural Maine’s economic resurgence.” Ulrickson of Dexter is a former member of the Dexter Planning Board.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension offers a free tick identification service for Maine residents.
The announcement of the service is timely: May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and ticks are being reported statewide. In fact, the tick population in Maine has been steadily increasing since the late 1980s, along with the emergence of tick-borne diseases.
In addition to tick identification, UMaine Extension resources include information on the biology and management of 14 tick species in Maine, tick submission instructions, tick removal guidelines, a tick photo gallery, and links to information on tick-borne diseases transmitted in Maine.
More information, including how to submit a tick for identification, is available online or by calling UMaine Extension at 581.3880.
The University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development is ranked 73rd in the nation for all Education Schools in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
With more than 40 graduate degree programs and seven graduate certificate programs, the College of Education and Human Development offers professional development, and advanced education and training in a variety of modes. UMaine education graduate students choose from diverse course offerings and specializations in classes on campus and online.
UMaine education graduate students also have the opportunity to not only acquire knowledge, but also create it. At the state’s research university, UMaine graduate students collaborate with world-renown experts on vital education issues such as autism, poverty, bullying, literacy, leadership, diversity and STEM education.
WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) advanced the annual Clean Sweep Sale that takes place 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Friday, May 22 and 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday, May 23 in York Commons. Furniture, rugs, electronics, appliances, housewares, books, bedding, shoes and clothing will be among the items for sale. Items were donated by the university or students who moved out of the dorms at the end of the semester. “We set up drop locations at each of the residence halls on campus so that they can just leave things right there without having to carry them somewhere and we explain what we’re doing with it,” Lisa Morin, coordinat\or of UMaine’s Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism, told WABI. “All the money that’s raised through this sale is used to buy food that goes into our own campus food pantry or to buy supplies for the service projects our students are going to be completing for our welcome weekend when they come back in August.”
Fosters.com reported University of Maine historian Richard Judd will speak as part of a series in Alfred sponsored by The Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum and the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society. The Sid Emery Memorial Forum series will take place on four Sunday afternoons during the tourist season. On Oct. 4, Judd will discuss the newly published “Historical Atlas of Maine.” The atlas is a geographical and historical interpretation of the state, from the end of the last ice age to 2000. It culminates a 15-year scholarly project led by UMaine researchers. Judd and UMaine geographer Stephen Hornsby edited the book that contains cartography by Michael Hermann. Judd specializes in environmental history and edits the Maine Historical Society’s quarterly journal, according to the article.
WLBZ (Channel 2) spoke with Eric Venturini, a graduate student at the University of Maine who works for Johnny’s Selected Seeds, for the report “Easy ways to boost bee populations.” “They need food the entire season. And what you want to do as a grower is make sure you are providing that if you’re trying to manage and maintain a healthy population of wild pollinators,” Venturini said. The report also cited advice from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension that states you should plant colorful flowers to attract bees, avoid using chemicals in the garden or field, build nesting houses, let dandelions grow in the spring, and mow at night when bees are less active.
Roosevelt Campobello International Park and the Downeast Fisheries Trail invite the public to “Celebrate the Sea” at a June 1 dedication of eight new interpretive panels installed at Roosevelt Campobello International Park.
The displays describe life and the sea that surround Campobello Island and the lives of the people who have lived, worked and played on Passamaquoddy Bay. An interpretive deck with seven panels erected at Friar’s Bay Beach illustrates the ecology of Passamaquoddy Bay, the Roosevelt family’s love of the sea, regional tribal heritage, the fisheries and aquaculture way of life, the Downeast Fisheries Trail and opportunities for research and education around the Bay. At Mulholland Light, another panel celebrates the life and service of Angus Newman, the light’s last keeper.
The event is free and open to the public. The program begins at 1 p.m. (2 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time) and includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony, traditional music of Maine and New Brunswick by From Away Downeast, readings by Maine poets and lighthouse stories.
Roosevelt Campobello International Park is on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada, just across the international border from Lubec at the easternmost tip of Maine. The park’s focal points are the Franklin D. Roosevelt summer cottage and the surrounding 2,800-acre natural area.
The Downeast Fisheries Trail celebrates the fisheries heritage, past and present, of eastern Maine. It is coordinated by the Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine. More information on the Downeast Fisheries Trail is online. For directions to Campobello, visit the park’s website. Passports are required to cross the international border.
Juana Domenech Subiran from La Rioja, Spain has joined the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center for summer 2015.
Subiran holds a Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Universidad del Pais Vasco (University of the Basque Country). Her current research interest is centered around passive houses. The passive house building standards aim to reduce energy consumption by 60–80 percent through improved materials and modified construction methods, according to the U.S. Passive House Institute.
Subiran will work with UMaine’s Roberto Lopez-Anido, a professor of civil engineering. The UMaine Composites Center is supporting Subiran’s research with aspects aligned with the center’s core expertise including the use of engineered wood products, thermoplastic composites, fiber reinforcement, hybrid materials, material durability, joining methods and test methods.
The research aims to increase building construction efficiency and reduce overall energy costs for homeowners.
More information about passive house practices is on the U.S. Passive House Institute’s website.
The University of Maine Museum of Art will celebrate the university’s 150th anniversary with an exhibit that features work by internationally recognized artists with strong connections to Maine who have contributed to the state’s artistic history.
“With Ties to Maine” will run from June 19 to September 19 and will showcase more than 20 pieces from the museum’s permanent collection in a wide range of media in primarily 2-D forms such as paintings and photos. A few of the works have belonged to the university since 1948, two years after the collection was founded.
The exhibition will display pieces created by artists including John Marin, Andrew Wyeth, Alex Katz, Berenice Abbott and Neil Welliver who spent significant time in Maine and were inspired by its natural beauty and unique sense of place.
“With Ties to Maine” reflects UMaine’s long history of collecting while sharing the university’s cultural resources with Maine residents and visitors, says George Kinghorn, the museum’s director and curator.
“Maine has such a rich, artistic history,” Kinghorn says. “The museum is delighted to share works by artists who have put Maine on the map internationally.”
Throughout history, Maine has been a destination of creativity for artists who seek refuge in the state for its distinct landscape and lack of outside distractions that allow for contemplative reflection, Kinghorn says, citing Marin and Abbott who set up studios in Maine.
The exhibition also recognizes the support of museum donors throughout the years, such as philanthropists and Bangor residents Adeline and Caroline Wing. The sisters provided some of the museum’s earliest gifts, including “On Bar Island,” a 1946 watercolor by Wyeth gifted to the museum in 1948, which will be included in the show.
Marin’s “A Bit of Cape Split, Maine,” a 1940 watercolor on paper donated by Norma and John C. Marin Jr. in 1957, also will be displayed. Cape Split is located along Maine’s coast in Washington County where Marin had a studio with ocean views, according to Kinghorn.
For photography, works by Abbott, who Kinghorn calls one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, will be on display. Abbott’s photographs documented the rapidly changing architecture of New York City in the 1930s. When Abbott moved to the rural Blanchard, Maine in the 1960s, she began taking photos of Maine’s people, sights and industries Kinghorn says.
Art by contemporary artists, such as Katz and Welliver, who have considered Maine home either full or part time will be included.
UMaine’s growing permanent collection contains more than 3,800 pieces that include realism, pop art, abstract expressionism and cubism, with a concentration in original prints and photography. The collection features artwork created since 1900 with an emphasis on contemporary art (1945–present).
The university’s art collection was established in 1946 by founding museum director and UMaine art professor Vincent Hartgen. The collection became a museum in the 1980s and has been located in downtown Bangor for more than a decade, extending UMaine’s reach and service to the community in keeping with the land grant mission of the university, Kinghorn says, adding the collection belongs to Maine residents.
Art from the museum’s permanent collection — Abbott’s New York City and Maine photos — will be included in a Portland Museum of Art exhibition that runs from May 21 to September 20.
“Directors’ Cut: Selections from the Maine Art Museum Trail,” will present highlights of Maine’s art history from the state’s most-renowned museums. More about Directors’ Cut is on the PMA website.
The University of Maine Museum of Art is open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Free admission to the museum throughout 2015 is made possible by Penobscot Financial Advisors. More information about the museum is online.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
University of Maine oceanographers are part of a collaborative international team studying the microscopic world of plankton. During expeditions from 2009 to 2013 aboard Tara, researchers collected 35,000 samples from the world’s oceans.
Data generated from the samples are providing unprecedented resources — including a catalog of several million new genes — expected to transform how oceans are studied and establish a global-scale baseline to evaluate the impact of climate changes on oceanic ecosystems.
In five articles in a special issue of Science to be published May 22, the interdisciplinary team maps the biodiversity of a range of planktonic organisms, exploring their interactions and how they impact and are affected by their environment, primarily temperature.
“The resources we’ve generated will allow us and others to delve even deeper, and finally begin to really understand the workings of this invisible world,” says Chris Bowler from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).
“The finding that temperature shapes which species are present, for instance, is especially relevant in the context of climate change, but to some extent this is just the beginning,” says Bowler.
Tara is a 118-foot-long, 33-foot-wide, 120-ton research vessel operated by Tara Expeditions Foundation. Scientists from around the world collect samples from the Earth’s oceans to understand climate change and to explain it simply.
“To act in ecology we shall have to relinquish our individualist world. It is the key. This is what we attempted and accomplished on Tara. A team’s work at the service of the planet,” says Tara Foundation President Etienne Bourgois on the website.
UMaine oceanographers Emmanuel Boss and Lee Karp-Boss are part of the science team and participated in six expedition legs. UMaine doctoral student Alison Chase took part in a four-week research venture from France to Norway during the summer 2013 Tara Oceans Polar Circle expedition.
Also, Ivona Cetinić, research associate at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center, participated in the Tara Oceans Polar Circle expedition. And Tom Leeuw, who earned a master’s degree in oceanography at UMaine in 2014, took part in month-long projects aboard Tara in both the Polar Circle and Mediterranean.
Collaboration, say Boss, Karp-Boss and Chase, is one of several reasons why they relish taking part in the research aboard Tara and contributing to science.
Boss was chief scientist during two legs aboard Tara — in December 2011–January 2012 from Panama City, Florida to Savannah, Georgia and in 2013 in the Western Arctic. In 2014, he conducted research in the Mediterranean Sea during a voyage from Cyprus to Malta. His lab installed a system aboard Tara that collected optical data about ocean particles from 2009 to 2013.
Karp-Boss served as chief scientist on voyages from Chile to Easter Island in 2011, from New York to Bermuda in 2012 (she spoke with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon prior to the trip), and in the Siberian Arctic in 2013.
Boss and Karp-Boss brought NASA to the project, earning a grant to collect biogeochemical information. They examined ocean color, composition and pigments of surface particles, including plankton, in relation to optical properties — light absorption, attenuation, fluorescence and backscattering.
NASA uses the information to develop algorithms for, and verify data from, satellites that observe the same water.
Karp-Boss says she values meeting and working with international colleagues who have expertise in other disciplines. The articles published May 22 are the result of the hard work of different teams and just scratch the surface of the rich data set, she says.
Boss says he appreciates Tara’s emphasis on raising awareness about environmental issues and the opportunity he and other scientists have to interact with schoolchildren who board the vessel at each port.
Aboard Tara, an ecosystems biology approach is used. Researchers systematically sample the world’s oceans across all domains of life, from viruses to animals, and collect a rich variety of environmental information.
Ocean plankton — microscopic beings that drift on the upper layer of the oceans — are as crucial to life on Earth as the rainforest ecosystem, say researchers. Ocean plankton produce half of the planet’s oxygen, absorb and store carbon, influence the weather and are the base of the ocean food web that sustains the larger fish and marine mammals.
“Beyond the cutting-edge science that was developed thanks to our collaborative work with the Tara Expeditions Foundation, this adventure is also about showing people all over the world how important the ocean is for our own well-being,” says Eric Karsenti, director of Tara Oceans, from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and CNRS.
What’s in the plankton?
Scientists captured viruses, microbes and microscopic eukaryotes — organisms with complex cells, from single-cell algae to fish larvae — from major oceanic regions and compiled the genetic material into comprehensive resources now available to the scientific community for additional study.
“This is the largest DNA sequencing effort ever done for ocean science: analyses revealed around 40 million genes, the vast majority of which are new to science, thus hinting towards a much broader biodiversity of plankton than previously known,“ says Patrick Wincker from Genoscope, CEA.
EMBL’s high-performance computing was essential in compiling the comprehensive catalog, estimated to be derived from more than 35,000 different species whose genomic content had previously been mostly unknown to scientists.
“In terms of eukaryotes, we sequenced nearly a billion genetic barcodes and found that there is a greater variety of single-cell eukaryotes in plankton than was thought,” says Colomban de Vargas from CNRS. “They appear to be much more diverse than bacteria or animals, and most belong to little-known groups.”
How do planktonic organisms interact?
Researchers used novel computer models to predict how diverse planktonic organisms interact. Predictions were confirmed via selective microscopy observations.
“When we mapped how planktonic organisms — from viruses to small animal larvae — interact with each other, we discovered that most of those interactions are parasitic, recycling nutrients back down the food chain,” says Jeroen Raes from VIB, KU Leuven and Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
This map is a first step toward a better understanding of the dynamics and structure of the global marine ecosystem.
Are planktonic organisms distributed evenly in the oceans?
In addition, scientists studied how environmental factors — including temperature, pH, and nutrients — influence microscopic organisms floating in the ocean.
“We found that, at depths still reached by sunlight, temperature was the main factor that influences the composition of prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) communities,” says Peer Bork from EMBL. “Different sets of organisms come together depending on the water temperature.”
Chase conducted data analyses that supported scientists who showed the Agulhas “rings” — a natural barrier that draws the line between the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic — separate plankton communities.
“It’s like plankton goes through a cold wash cycle at the tip of South Africa,” says Daniele Iudicone from Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn. “The current forms huge swirls that drastically mix and cool the plankton riding it, thus limiting the number of species that manage to cross.”
Chase, from Canterbury, New Hampshire, was a UMaine graduate student during the 2013 Tara Oceans Polar Circle expedition. She says operating instruments below deck in the dry lab helped build her confidence as a researcher in the field.
“I like the international collaborative component,” says Chase, who expects to earn her Ph.D. in oceanography in 2017. “We’re all a part of something bigger and contributing to a broader understanding of the planet we live on and to the momentum and effort of sustaining our life here.”
Matthew Sullivan from the University of Arizona says, “In addition, we now also have a global picture of marine virus communities, which allows us to confirm an idea that had been proposed a decade ago, but never proven. Viruses are produced in local ‘seed banks’ and then ride the ocean currents, so you end up with different cocktails of viruses in different places, even though the overall diversity of viruses in the oceans appears quite limited.”
Understanding the distribution and interactions of the plankton across the oceans will be useful for predictive models necessary to study climate change, the scientists say.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
The University of Maine was mentioned in the Smithsonian Science News article “New study may help free whales from fishing rope entanglement.” The report cited a study published in the journal Marine Mammal Science that could help save many whales. Using vertebrae and muscle measurements from whale skeletons in museums and research facilities, a team of marine biologists created a chart estimating the maximum pulling force that different whale species can create with their tail flukes, according to the article. Knowing the values could aid in designing fishing rope that whales can break or nets with built-in weak links that come apart when a whale becomes entangled, the article states. William McLellan, a marine mammal expert at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, conducted the work with other researchers from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, as well as from UMaine, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and New River Kinematics. Becky Woodward, a research assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UMaine, is a co-author of the study.
The University of Maine Museum of Art was mentioned in the Boston Globe’s arts preview, “Critics’ picks for the summer.” The article cited a Portland Museum of Art exhibition that runs from May 21 to September 20. “Directors’ Cut: Selections from the Maine Art Museum Trail,” will present highlights of Maine’s art history from the state’s most-renowned museums, including UMMA, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Monhegan Museum of Art and History, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art and the Portland Museum of Art.
The 2015 Top Gun Regional Pitch Competition and Product Showcase will take place 5:30 p.m. May 26 at the University of Maine Foster Center for Student Innovation.
At least two regional entrepreneurs will be selected by a panel of judges to compete in the statewide Top Gun Showcase in June where they will pitch for a chance to win $10,000.
Participants include Ass Over Teakettle of Skowhegan, Tip Whip of Orono, RockStep Solutions of Bar Harbor, Coursestorm of Orono, L&K Manufacturing of Orono, Zeomatrix of Orono and Whoopie Pie Cafe of Bangor.
The Top Gun entrepreneurship accelerator is a five-month program that engages entrepreneurs in growing their businesses. Top Gun combines education, mentoring, pitch-coaching and networking opportunities. The program is a partnership of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Maine Technology Institute, Blackstone Accelerates Growth and the University of Maine. UMaine organizes and hosts a Bangor region class and has also developed curriculum to support the statewide program.
Registration for the regional competition is online.