Combined News

Bloom Plankton Hitches Rides on Eddies

University of Maine News - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 13:50

Just as crocus and daffodil blossoms signal the start of a warmer season on land, a similar “greening” event — a massive bloom of microscopic plants, or phytoplankton — unfolds each spring in the North Atlantic Ocean from Bermuda to the Arctic.

Fertilized by nutrients that have built up during the winter, the cool waters of the North Atlantic come alive during the spring and summer with a vivid display of color that stretches across hundreds and hundreds of miles.

North Atlantic Bloom turns ocean into sea of plankton

In what’s known as the North Atlantic Bloom, millions of phytoplankton use sunlight and carbon dioxide (CO2) to grow and reproduce at the ocean’s surface.

During photosynthesis, phytoplankton remove carbon dioxide from seawater and release oxygen as a by-product. That allows the oceans to absorb additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If there were fewer phytoplankton, atmospheric carbon dioxide would increase.

Flowers ultimately wither and fade, but what eventually happens to these tiny plants produced in the sea? When phytoplankton die, the carbon dioxide in their cells sinks to the deep ocean.

Plankton integral part of oceanic “biological pump”

This so-called biological pump makes the North Atlantic Ocean efficient at soaking up CO2  from the air.

“Much of this ‘particulate organic carbon,’ especially the larger, heavier particles, sinks,” says scientist Melissa Omand of the University of Rhode Island, co-author of a paper about the North Atlantic Bloom published March 26 in the journal Science.

“But we wanted to find out what’’s happening to the smaller, nonsinking phytoplankton cells from the bloom. Understanding the dynamics of the bloom and what happens to the carbon produced by it is important, especially for being able to predict how the oceans will affect atmospheric CO2 and ultimately climate.”

University of Maine Darling Marine Center researchers Mary Jane Perry, Ivona Cetinić and Nathan Briggs were part of the team with Omand, Amala Mahadevan of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Eric D’Asaro and Craig Lee of the University of Washington that did just that.

They discovered the significant role that swirling currents, or eddies, play in pushing nonsinking carbon to ocean depths.

“It’s been a challenge to estimate carbon export from the ocean’s surface waters to its depths based on measurements of properties such as phytoplankton carbon. This paper describes a mechanism for doing that,” says David Garrison, program director in NSF’s Division of Ocean Sciences. The NSF funded the research.

Tracking a bloom: Floats, gliders and other instruments

During fieldwork from the research vessels Bjarni Saemundsson and Knorr, the scientists used a float to follow a patch of seawater off Iceland. They observed the progression of the bloom by making measurements from multiple platforms.

Autonomous gliders outfitted with sensors gathered data including temperature, salinity, as well as information about the chemistry and biology of the bloom — oxygen, nitrate, chlorophyll and the optical signatures of the particulate matter.

At the onset of the bloom and for the next month, four teardrop-shaped seagliders gathered 774 profiles to depths of up to 1,000 meters (3,281 feet).

Analysis of the profiles showed that about 10 percent had unusually high concentrations of phytoplankton bloom properties, even in deep water, as well as high oxygen concentrations usually found at the surface.

“These profiles were showing what we initially described as ‘bumps’ at depths much deeper than phytoplankton can grow,” says Omand.

Staircases to the deep: ocean eddies

Using information collected at sea by Perry, D’Asaro and Lee, Mahadevan modeled ocean currents and eddies (whirlpools within currents), and their effects on the spring bloom.

“What we were seeing was surface water, rich with phytoplankton carbon, being transported downward by currents on the edges of eddies. Eddies hadn’t been thought of as a major way organic matter is moved into the deeper ocean. But this type of eddy-driven ‘subduction’ could account for a significant downward movement of phytoplankton from the bloom,” says Mahadevan.

Perry, interim director of the DMC, says the discovery reminds her of a favorite quote from French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur: “Where observation is concerned, chance favors only the prepared mind.”

“I feel that this project is a wonderful example of the chance discovery of an important process in the ocean carbon cycle,” she says. “It all started when I was chief scientist on the R/V Knorr during the North Atlantic bloom expedition, spending hours and hours staring at profiles of temperature and phytoplankton.

“Initially it was very puzzling — how could high surface concentrations of phytoplankton and oxygen make it down intact to 300 and 400 meters? But the combination of many measurements from autonomous gliders and simulations from models lead to the unexpected finding that ocean eddies or whirlpools are important forces in transporting phytoplankton and their associated carbon to great depths.”

In related work published in 2012 in Science, the researchers found that eddies act as early triggers of the North Atlantic Bloom by keeping phytoplankton in shallower water where they can be exposed to sunlight to fuel photosynthesis and growth.

Next, the scientists will seek to quantify the transport of organic matter from the ocean’s surface to its depths in regions beyond the North Atlantic and at other times of year, and relate that to phytoplankton productivity.

Learning more about eddies and their link with plankton blooms will allow for more accurate global models of the ocean’s carbon cycle, the researchers say, and improve the models’ predictive capabilities.

“The processes described in this paper are demonstrating, once again, how important the ocean is for removal of atmospheric carbon and controlling Earth’s climate,” says Cetinić.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

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College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture Announces Edith Patch Award Recipient

University of Maine News - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:43

Nadir Yildirim, a doctoral student in the Wood Science and Technology Program in the School of Forest Resources, was named the 2015 recipient of the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture’s recently renamed Edith Patch Award.

Yildirim of Mugla, Turkey studies the production and evaluation of super-light nanocellular structures, nanocomposites, aerogels and eco-friendly foams under the supervision of Stephen Shaler, professor of wood sciences and technology and director of the UMaine School of Forest Resources.

After completing the graduate certificate in Innovation Engineering through the Foster Center for Student Innovation, Yildirim started Revolution Research, Inc. (RRI) based in Orono. RRI focuses on the development and commercialization of eco-friendly replacements of petroleum-based thermal insulation products.

Through his Ph.D. studies, supported by the USDA McIntire-Stennis program, a Maine Technology Institute Phase 0 KickStarter grant and the MTI Technical Assistance Program, Yildirim recently submitted a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to the National Science Foundation for research into corn starch and cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs).

Nadir’s development and testing at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center lead to the creation of an innovative foam board system made of CNFs, which is the focus of the grant application. RRI’s goal is to produce the first eco-friendly, recyclable and reusable thermal insulation foam board, which can be used within wall sheathing systems, on floors and in roof systems of residential or commercial buildings.

In recognition of UMaine’s Women in Leadership Week, the college renamed the Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award to honor Edith Patch, a pioneering entomologist and UMaine faculty member.

The Edith Patch Award recognizes graduate students at the Ph.D. level who have distinguished themselves in multiple ways. Recipients are selected based on research and scholarly activity, teaching, professional activity, university and public service, and academic performance; areas in which Patch distinguished herself during her UMaine career.

Patch was a major figure in entomology at UMaine from 1904–37. She was the first female president of the Entomological Society of America, was the head of the Entomology Department at UMaine and published several works including “Food Plant Catalogue of the Aphids of the World.”

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More than 120 Graduate Students to Display Projects at Annual Expo

University of Maine News - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:26

University of Maine graduate students will showcase their research and artistic works during the Graduate Student Government’s 2015 Graduate Academic Exposition April 2–3.

Work will be presented, judged and on display from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday in the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center on campus.

The event will feature four areas of competition — posters, oral presentations, intermedia and fine arts exhibits, and a PechaKucha, or rapid-fire slide show event. Students from a variety of disciplines are expected to present 129 submissions at this year’s event. Seventy percent of the students will take part in the expo for the first time, while 30 percent are returning presenters.

The poster and oral presentations will highlight the physical sciences and technology; natural sciences; humanities; and social sciences. The intermedia and fine arts exhibits will include art works, projects and performances.

The PechaKucha competition, open to students in all academic disciplines, invites participants to share their work in a slide show lasting under seven minutes. Unlike the other presentations, the PechaKucha talks will be judged by the audience rather than faculty reviewers. Presentations will take place 1–2:30 p.m. Friday, April 3 in the IMRC Center’s Black Box space.

More than $12,000 in prizes will be awarded to participants of the Grad Expo. Three new awards — the GSBSE Award in Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, Climate Change Innovation Award and Student Life Award — have been added this year, and will be presented during the awards gala, slated for 6 p.m. Friday, April 3 at the IMRC Center. The gala is open to the public.

The Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering awards will be given to graduate students whose research projects are related to molecular and cellular biology; bioinformatics; computational biology and genomics; toxicology; neuroscience; or biomedical engineering. The GSBSE will designate judges to select the winners. The awards will be $200 for first place, $100 for second place and $50 for third place.

The $250 Climate Change Innovation Award will be awarded to a graduate student whose research focuses on climate change causes, effects and choices. Judges will be designated by the Climate Change Institute.

The UMaine Division of Student Life will present a $200 award to a graduate student whose research contributes to improving the lives of students at UMaine or in higher education.

Other awards include:

  • The President’s Research Impact Award, a $2,000 award given to the graduate student and their adviser who best exemplify the UMaine mission of teaching, research and outreach;
  • The Provost’s Innovative/Creative Teaching Award, given to graduate students who are lead instructors of a UMaine course and use innovative and creative teaching methods;
  • Graduate Student Government Awards, presented to three students in each of the four presentation divisions;
  • The Graduate Dean’s Undergraduate Mentoring Award, presented for effective undergraduate mentoring in research; and
  • The UMaine Alumni Association Alum Award, given to a graduate student who earned their undergraduate degree at UMaine.

Details of the expo are online. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Elisa Sance, Graduate Student Government vice president, at elisa.sance@maine.edu or umainegsggradexpo@gmail.com.

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Mikotowicz, Mahon Take Part in MPBN’s ‘Maine Calling’ Book Club

University of Maine News - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 10:49

Tom Mikotowicz, a theatre professor at the University of Maine, and John Mahon, the John M. Murphy Chair of International Business Policy and Strategy and professor of management at UMaine, were recent guests on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio program. The show focused on Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” as part of the Maine Calling Book Club. Mikotowicz and Mahon discussed the classic work of American literature.

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UMaine Lobster Study Cited in ClimateProgress Endangered Species Bracket

University of Maine News - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 10:47

A University of Maine study was mentioned in a ClimateProgress article about March Sadness — the organization’s educational bracket tournament of animals affected by climate change and other environmental threats. ClimateProgress will pursue a feature article exploring the story behind whichever animal wins, the website states. The UMaine study was cited in the battle between the lobster and red knot, a migratory bird. The UMaine survey of 11 Gulf of Maine locations found warming in the Gulf may increase the prevalence of lobster shell disease, an unsightly sickness which stresses the lobster and often leads to death, according to the article.

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Peronto to Speak About Growing Organic Fruit Crops, Ellsworth American Reports

University of Maine News - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 10:46

The Ellsworth American reported University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator and professor Marjorie Peronto and her husband Reeser Manley, who teaches for the UMaine Extension Master Gardener Program, will give a public talk in Ellsworth about how to grow organic fruit crops. The gardening experts and co-authors of “The New England Gardener’s Year,” will share their knowledge about organically growing strawberries, raspberries and high-bush blueberries March 31 at Ellsworth City Hall Auditorium, according to the article. The free public event is hosted by the Ellsworth Garden Club. Peronto and Manley will cover organic gardening techniques for each of the small fruit crops and will answer questions after the presentation, the article states.

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Mainebiz Advances Top Gun ‘Matchmaking’ Event

University of Maine News - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 10:45

Mainebiz reported Top Gun entrepreneurs from 35 companies plan to meet with potential funders from across the state in a “speed dating” format at the new TechPlace startup incubator at Brunswick Landing. The event is organized by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, along with the Target Technology Incubator in Orono and the University of Maine Foster Center for Student Innovation, according to the report. The group plans to bring in companies from Top Gun classes in Portland, Rockland and Orono. The Top Gun program is offered by MCED and UMaine’s Target Technology Incubator as part of the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative. It began in 2009 to initiative growth among entrepreneurs in the state.

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Slate Editor to Visit Campus, Take Part in Public Panel Discussion

University of Maine News - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 10:44

Laura Helmuth, science and health editor of Slate.com, will visit the University of Maine as the 2015 Alan Miller Fund visiting journalist. During her March 30–31 visit, Helmuth will speak to communication and journalism classes; meet with UMaine students and faculty; and participate in a public panel discussion.

The discussion, “The Art of Science Reporting: Investigating the Best Way to Inform the Public,” will take place 2:30 p.m. Monday, March 30 at Wells Conference Center on campus. The talk is free and open to the public.

Helmuth will be joined by Jackie Farwell, health editor of the Bangor Daily News; and Matthew Nisbet, a professor of communication studies and public policy and urban affairs at Northeastern University, as well as senior editor of Climate Science, an Oxford Research Encyclopedia.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Emily Haddad will introduce the panel, which will be moderated by Jennifer Moore, assistant professor of communication and journalism at UMaine.

Helmuth’s visit is part of the Alan Miller Fund for Excellence in Communication and Journalism. The fund is designed to bring experienced journalists to campus to interact with UMaine students, faculty and officials. Past Alan Miller Fund visiting journalists include Abby Goodnough of the New York Times in 2009, Mark Feeney of the Boston Globe and Bettina Boxall of Los Angeles Times in 2010, Abigail Goldman of Los Angeles Times in 2012, and UMaine alumnus Brian Naylor of NPR in 2013. The fund also has supported the UMaine visits of journalists Bob Woodward in 2007 and Doris Kearns Goodwin in 2012.

The fund was established by Anne Lucey, a UMaine alumna and current Chair of the Board of Visitors Executive Committee, in memory of Alan Miller, her late husband who taught journalism at UMaine for more than two decades.

Helmuth works in the Washington, D.C., office of Slate, a daily online magazine founded in 1996 that offers analysis and commentary about politics, news, business, technology and culture. Helmuth has a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from the University of California, Berkeley and previously worked for Smithsonian and Science magazines.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Jennifer Moore at jennifer.e.moore@maine.edu.

Categories: Combined News, News

School of Performing Arts to Host Musical Theatre Dance Workshop

University of Maine News - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 10:44

The University of Maine School of Performing Arts will host a free musical theatre dance workshop for the public 3 p.m. Friday, April 3.

Choreographer and director Raymond Marc Dumond will teach combinations and numbers from “A Chorus Line” and “Chicago” in the Polly Thomas Dance Studio on the second floor of Class of 1944 Hall.

Dumond has directed and choreographed musical theatre productions around the state. As a member of the Actors’ Equity Association, he has performed professionally at numerous regional theatres across the United States. More about Dumond is online.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Eleanor Kipping at 581.4721, eleanor.kipping@maine.edu. Registration is not required to attend.

Categories: Combined News, News

Campus Traffic Advisory for March 26

University of Maine News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 13:27

Thursday, March 26, the Dunn and Beta parking lots, and a portion of the Belgrade lot will be closed. Members of the university community are reminded that, with the 3 p.m. Installation Ceremony, parking may be a challenge and traffic on campus is expected to be heavier than usual.

Please keep in mind that the Community Connector and Black Bear Orono Express are available. Carpooling is recommended. The 581.INFO line will provide updates on parking availability on campus.

Categories: Combined News, News

Moxley Wins National Poetry Award, Maine Edge Reports

University of Maine News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 10:14

The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release about English professor Jennifer Moxley receiving the Poetry Society of America’s 2015 William Carlos Williams Award for her book, “The Open Secret.” The award, named after American poet William Carlos Williams, is presented annually by the PSA for a book of poetry written by an author who is a permanent resident of the United States. The book must be published by a small, nonprofit or university press.

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Weekly Advances Poetry Event at Bangor Library

University of Maine News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 10:13

The Weekly reported the Bangor Public Library in cooperation with the University of Maine and the University of Maine Museum of Art will host the 13th annual POETS/SPEAK! celebration Saturday, April 4. The daylong event is one of the largest free poetry festivals in Maine, according to the article. This year’s program will feature more than 25 well-known and emerging poets from around the state, as well as UMaine students and lecturers.

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Maine Edge Previews Emera Astronomy Center’s April Shows

University of Maine News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 10:12

The Maine Edge reported on scheduled public star shows in April at the University of Maine’s Emera Astronomy Center. The Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium shows are held 7 p.m. Fridays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Friday nights in April feature “Stars,” narrated by Mark Hamill of “Star Wars” fame,  and “Astronaut,” which gives visitors a glimpse of the training, danger and challenges of those who travel in space. For younger sky watchers, Sunday afternoon shows introduce introduce a talking astronomy book that leads two children in their homemade cardboard rocket on an adventure around the solar system in “Secret of the Cardboard Rocket.” Admission to all shows is $6, and seating is limited.

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UMaine Extension Provides School for Poultry Producers

University of Maine News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 10:11

University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Poultry Growers Association are offering a school for poultry producers from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 11, at Kennebec Valley Community College, 92 Western Ave., Fairfield.

Topics will include raising poultry on pasture in Maine, proper nutrition and health, predation prevention and efficient management. The school is designed for small- and medium-size producers who raise poultry for eggs or meat. Many topics are suitable for poultry enthusiasts and 4-H teens.

The fee is $25 for MPGA members, $35 for others. Refreshments, lunch and a reference notebook are included. Registration and more information is online. To request a disability accommodation, call 781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine).

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Amernet String Quartet, Silver to Collaborate at CCA

University of Maine News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 10:11

The Amernet String Quartet will unite with University of Maine pianist Philip Silver in a concert that features composers affected by the Holocaust at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 29, at the Collins Center for the Arts.

Concert selections for Silver and the award-winning quartet — Misha Vitenson (violin), Marcia Littley (violin), Michael Klotz (viola) and Jason Calloway (cello) — will include: Viktor Ullmann’s Quartet No. 3, op. 46; Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s Quartet No. 5, op. 27; and Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Piano Quintet in E major, op. 15.

Before the concert, at 2 p.m. in Miller’s Cafe at the CCA, Silver will give a free historical lecture about the featured composers and the Holocaust. Silver has presented similar lectures in commercial recordings and at international recitals. The University of Maine Humanities Center is co-presenting the lecture. Coffee and tea will be served.

A reception for musicians and concert-goers will be held following the performance.

Concert tickets are $15 for students, $35 for others; group rates are available. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 581.1755, 800.622.TIXX (toll-free).

Categories: Combined News, News

Ippolito Guest on MPBN’s ‘Maine Calling’ Radio Program

University of Maine News - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 12:51

Jon Ippolito, a new media professor at the University of Maine, was a recent guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio program. The show, titled “Social Media 101,” focused on the longevity of social media and how best to use and navigate it.

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2015 Top Gun Program Participants Interviewed for Maine Women Article

University of Maine News - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 12:51

Two members of the Top Gun program’s Class of 2015 shared their experiences for the recent Maine Women article, “Aiming for success.” Kym Dakin and Abi Barnes spoke about why they wanted to sign up for the entrepreneurial development training. The Top Gun program is offered by Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) and UMaine’s Target Technology Incubator as part of the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative. Participants of the entrepreneur accelerator program attend classes in Portland, Orono or Rockland and work with mentors who help them apply what they learn to accelerate growth. “It has been interesting to learn from others in the process,” Dakin said. “It’s incredibly inspiring, and I feel deeply honored to be in the room with people doing so many creative and interesting projects.”

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Huffington Post Reports on Student’s Local Election Budget

University of Maine News - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 12:49

The Huffington Post’s HuffPost Live published a report on Lee Jackson, a third-year student at the University of Maine, titled “How this college kid won a local election on a $200 budget.” When Jackson was 19 years old, he was elected to the Regional School District No. 34 School Board in Old Town, while maintaining his grades and working a part-time job at McDonald’s, according to the report. “For me it was, ‘Here’s my budget, it’s $200. How can I best spend these $200?’” he said. “It was a lot of knocking on doors, and coalition building, and organizing, and pizza nights, and photo ops. It’s definitely something that’s not easy.”

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Fried Talks with WABI About Stephen King, Governor

University of Maine News - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 12:48

Amy Fried, a political science professor at the University of Maine, sat down with WABI (Channel 5) to speak about Gov. Paul LePage’s recent remarks on author Stephen King in relation to income taxes. Fried also was quoted in a related Washington Post article.

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UMaine Waste Study Cited in MPBN Report

University of Maine News - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 12:47

A 2011 study by the University of Maine School of Economics was cited in the Maine Public Broadcasting Network report, “Lawmakers seeking to reduce waste with composting bill.” The study found more than 40 percent of waste generated in the state is organic, with lesser amounts accounted for by paper and plastic. Sarah Lakeman, Sustainable Maine Policy Advocate for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said addressing the organic component will help the state meet its waste recycling goals.

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