The Portland Press Herald and Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Ian Bricknell, a University of Maine aquaculture biology professor, about the 10th annual Sea Lice Conference he helped organize. More than 200 researchers from the around the world are attending the Portland conference. This is the first year the conference is being held in the United States. Sea lice — a parasite that grazes on the skin of fish — are estimated to cost the global aquaculture industry about $300 million a year, Bricknell said. The Press Herald also mentioned the establishment of the Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network, or SEANET, at UMaine, thanks to a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant’s goal is to turn Maine’s 3,500-mile coast into a “living laboratory” to study social and environmental interactions among sustainable ecological aquaculture and coastal communities and ecosystems.
The National Post of Canada spoke with University of Maine history professor Liam Riordan for the article, “New Ireland: How Maine almost became part of Canada at the end of the War of 1812.” The article states a history museum in Castine is hosting an exhibition on the lost Canadian province, New Ireland. British forces in pre-Confederation Canada seized Northern Maine during the final months of the War of 1812, according to the article, and if the land-grab succeeded, it would have yielded an area two-thirds the size of present-day New Brunswick. “If British diplomats and strategic thinkers had been more strongly committed to this idea, a very alternative outcome is easy to imagine,” Riordan said.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with University of Maine political scientist Mark Brewer for a report about PACs unveiling attack ads against opposing Maine gubernatorial candidates. “Campaigns use attack ads because they know they work,” Brewer said, adding the ads have a proven track record. “They’re a way to move and influence undecided voters, and even voters who may think they have their minds made up but they’re not fully committed,” he said.
Jeff Hecker, University of Maine’s executive vice president of academic affairs and provost, was mentioned in a Bangor Daily News article about House Speaker Mark Eves’ KeepMe Home initiative to help senior citizens remain in their homes. According to the article, Hecker and several others involved in crafting the policy agenda will join Eves in Washington, D.C., to enlist the support of the state’s congressional delegation and identify potential sources of funding. The initiative includes a $65 million bond package that would build 1,000 new apartment units for seniors in 40 communities and reduce taxes for seniors.
Andrew Pershing, an associate professor in UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences and researcher at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, was interviewed by NECN for a report about how Gulf of Maine warming trends could have a major effect on the state’s fishing industry. Pershing said the warming temperatures could increase lobster landings in the short term, but could have a negative impact on lobster health and reproduction rates in the future. “The big worry is if we were to stay on this trend for a number of years, we could see some of the same shellfish disease issues that have devastated southern New England,” Pershing said. WLBZ (Channel 2) carried the NECN report.
The Free Press reported Patricia Libby, a member of the instructional and student services staff at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center since 2011, has been named associate director of the Belfast-based outreach facility. Libby will join Monique LaRocque, associate provost for the UMaine Division of Lifelong Learning (DLL), in leading the center, which has become an educational and cultural focal point for Maine’s midcoast since opening in 2000.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s bulletin with guidelines on raw milk production is available for licensed dealers and people interested in becoming licensed with the state of Maine. Donald E. Hoenig, VMD, UMaine Extension, authored “Raw Milk Production: Guidelines for Maine Licensed Dealers.” Topics covered include milking procedures, milk room equipment, milking facilities, cleaning equipment, raw milk and foodborne illness, and tests conducted by the Department of Agriculture. More information, free downloads and bulletin copies for $1 each are available from the UMaine Extension Publication Catalog, by calling 207.581.3792 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spencer Meyer, A Recent Ph.D. Alumnus in the School of Forest Resources, Receives 2014 President's Research Impact Award
Posted September 2, 2014
Spencer Meyer, Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Resources May 2014 graduate who worked with the Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI) through the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources has received, along with his faculty advisors Dr. Rob Lilieholm and Dr. Chris Cronan, has been awarded the 2014 President’s Research Impact Award for the development of a sophisticated online mapping tool that allows Maine communities to visualize future landscape scenarios in localized areas.
A member of SSI’s Alternative Futures Team, Dr. Meyer led the development of the Maine Futures Community Mapper (MFCM) over four years with team leader Lilieholm, Associate Professor of Forest Policy, Cronan, Professor of Plant Biology and Ecology, and Michelle Johnson, an SSI doctoral candidate in UMaine’s Ecology and Environmental Science program. The groundbreaking tool will allow town planners, conservationists, developers, and the general public to better understand and manage community assets – both in terms of conservation and economic development – now and in the future.
Dr. Meyer, who has been at UMaine for 12 years as both a student and staff member, has been accepted into The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) NatureNet Fellows Program and will begin a two-year fellowship at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies this fall. Dr. Meyer will work together with Yale and TNC colleagues to address questions about how to prioritize future conservation efforts to sustain the environmental and economic benefits of utilizing forests as natural infrastructure.
Bob Steneck, a marine scientist at the University of Maine, and Andrew Pershing, an associate professor in UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences and researcher at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, were interviewed for the Associated Press article, “Gulf of Maine: ‘Poster child’ for global warming.” The warmer water contributed to an overabundance of lobsters in recent years, causing prices to tumble, the article states. Steneck said continued warming could force the crustaceans to move north or die off. Pershing said increased carbon dioxide in the air has contributed to rising temperatures of the oceans. His research shows the Gulf is among the fastest-warming bodies of water, and he cites shifts in the Gulf stream as a possible cause. ABC News, The Washington Post, CBC News and Business Insider carried the AP report.
The Bangor Daily News and WVII (Channel 7) reported Maine Savings Federal Credit Union announced a gift of at least $50,000 to the University of Maine Athletics Department during the grand opening of the credit union’s new Stillwater Avenue branch. John Reed, Maine Savings president and CEO, said the credit union has entered a five-year agreement during which each transaction using the institution’s new Black Bear Debit Card will result in a donation to UMaine’s Black Bear Fund, according to the BDN. Maine Savings will contribute a minimum of $10,000 per year to the fund, Reed said. Karlton Creech, UMaine’s director of athletics, said the department is grateful for the unique partnership. “A big emphasis for me and for our department is community engagement,” he said.
The Daily News of Newburyport, Massachusetts spoke with Spencer Traxler, a bioengineering student at the University of Maine, about his trip to Ecuador as part of the UMaine student group Engineers Without Borders. The Newburyport native was one of six UMaine students to travel to La “Y” de La Laguna in August on an assessment trip to open the door to a long-term project to improve water security in the 300-person community. “We are going to develop a relationship with the community,” Traxler said ahead of the trip.
The Piscataquis Observer published an article about the Greenville Super Science 4-H Club. Traditionally, 4-H — the youth development program of University of Maine Cooperative Extension — has focused on children tending to farm animals and agriculture, according to the article. Now the program also includes a variety of activities such as robotics, aquaculture and digital photography, and the self-governed clubs provide social and leadership development, the article states.
The Bangor Daily News spoke with Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, for the article, “Lobster industry grateful for ‘normal’ summer.” Warm water during the past couple of years disrupted the fishery’s patterns, forcing prices down, according to the article.
This year, lobsters have been shedding and growing larger shells later than in 2012 and 2013, and the resulting increase in landings has not occurred as early as it did during those summers, the article states. Bayer said the late onset of landings could be a good sign for September and October, when much of the annual harvest is brought ashore. “It’s been a quiet summer,” Bayer said. “It looks like [it could be] a strong fall.”
The Portland Press Herald published an opinion piece by Charles Scontras, historian and research associate at the University of Maine’s Bureau of Labor Education, titled “Maine Voices: Demise of textile mills, today’s outsourcing prompt reflection on Labor Day.”
The Black Bear Orono Express no longer has a route through Talmar Wood. The closest stop to Talmar Wood is on Rangeley Road. In addition, during construction on the Memorial Gym circle Sept. 8–Oct. 20, the UMaine stop for Concord Coach Lines will be at the Alfond Arena entrance facing Alfond Stadium.
The University of Maine presents “An Evening of Persian Folk Music” with Amir Vahab at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8 in the Minsky Recital Hall on campus.
The free concert is co-hosted by UMaine’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Music and Honors College.
Vahab is a composer and vocalist of folk music from the Middle East, according to his website. He plays and teaches several instruments including the tar, setar, tanbour, saz, oud, ney, daf and zarb.
For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call Beth Wiemann at 207.581.1244. More about Vahab and his music is online.
An award-winning scholar specializing in feminism, politics and global affairs will talk about the role of women in war at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, in Minsky Recital Hall at the University of Maine.
Clark University political scientist Cynthia Enloe will discuss “Where are Women in Violent Conflicts? Finding out will Make us Smarter!” She plans to address situations in Syria, Ukraine, Gaza and Israel during the free, public lecture.
“I think it’s important to learn where the women are in war and where the men are in war,” she says. “They are quite different experiences.”
In 2011 in Syria, women were active in open pro-democracy protests against the Assad regime, Enloe says. Today, she says, women are absent from media coverage in Syria except in photographs of displaced people.
Enloe also will talk with students, staff and community members during a meet-and-greet reception 2–3:30 p.m. Sept. 16, in the FFA Room in Memorial Union.
Her interest in global affairs was cultivated by reading the New York Herald Tribune and The New York Times delivered to her parents’ doorstep in Long Island, New York.
“I think that really had an effect on me — both in the sense of keeping up with what is going on in the world and wanting to become part of the world,” Enloe says.
She has done both. Her career has included Fulbrights in Malaysia and Guyana; guest professorships in Japan, Britain and Canada; and lectures in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Germany, Korea and Turkey. She also has authored more than a dozen books.
Enloe says she was drawn to books about foreign policy when she worked at a publishing company in New York after earning an undergraduate degree at Connecticut College for Women. At the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned her master’s and doctorate degrees, Enloe says a seminar on Southeast Asia further piqued her interest.
“I was off and running,” she says.
Stefano Tijerina, Libra Professor of International Relations at UMaine, invited Enloe to share her expertise with UMaine and the surrounding community.
He credits her with opening his eyes and mind to comparative politics and to issues of social justice during his undergraduate classes at Clark, where Enloe has three times received the Outstanding Teacher Award.
Tijerina, who grew up in Colombia and Texas, says Enloe promotes examining topics from a variety of angles and perspectives — including culture, race, gender and class — to gain deeper appreciation and understanding.
Enloe’s honors include the International Studies Association’s Susan Strange Award, the Susan B. Northcutt Award and the Peace and Justice Studies Association’s Howard Zinn Lifetime Achievement Award.
Lecture sponsors are the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program; School of Policy and International Affairs; and UMaine’s History and Political Science departments.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Saturday, Sept. 6 is World Shorebirds’ Day — a time to celebrate “fantastic migrants.” For biologists Rebecca Holberton and Lindsay Tudor, nearly every day is World Shorebirds’ Day.
They’re in the midst of a two-year study of one of those fantastic migrants — the semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pusilla). Named for the short webs between their toes, the small sandpipers scurry synchronously on black stilt-like legs, “cherking” and searching for food on the shore.
This year, like last, Holberton, a professor at the University of Maine, and Tudor, a wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIF&W), are conducting health assessments and placing “nano tags” — or very small VHF radio transmitters — on sandpipers.
By monitoring the semipalmated sandpipers’ movements, the scientists learn more about the birds’ stay on the Maine coast during their migration from the Arctic to South America.
In 2013, the first year of the study, Holberton, Tudor and UMaine graduate student Sean Rune learned that during the sandpipers’ stopover in Down East, Maine, they moved between feeding sites along upper Pleasant River, upper Harrington River and Flat Bay during low tide and roosted on offshore ledges at high tide.
Hatching-year birds ate and rested an average of 17.5 days in Maine and adults stayed an average of 12.4 days. Adult semipalmated sandpipers weighed, on average, 5 grams more than hatching-year birds on their first migration.
The young sandpipers, on their first migration and new to this area, may have needed more time to gain enough weight for the energy reserves they needed to fly nonstop to their wintering grounds, Holberton says.
Tudor says it’s easy to be a fan of the little balls of fluff that nearly double their body weight to a hefty 1.4 ounces while resting and refueling during their two- to three-week time in Maine.
When the peeps have packed on sufficient weight, they soar 10,000 to 15,000 feet above the Maine coastline to head out over the ocean and catch a good tail wind. If all goes well, they’ll arrive in South America two to four days later.
One of the species’ many talents — in addition to making their way back to their exact same wintering site each season — is the ability to break down lipids in their fat-filled fuel tank under the skin to power their nonstop 3,000-mile journey over the Atlantic Ocean.
Sandpipers don’t put down in the ocean as they can’t tolerate the cold water, says Tudor, which makes their stay on the Maine coast critical to a successful final leg of their uninterrupted migratory flight to South America.
“When in Maine, they’re our (the public) responsibility, our birds,” Tudor says.” We want to know if the habitat (in Maine) is meeting the birds’ needs.”
Studies indicate that since the 1970s the number of these feathered vertebrates has plummeted 80 percent in North America, Tudor says.
The population decline isn’t exclusive to semipalmated sandpipers. Globally, one in eight, or more than 1,300 bird species, are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International as reported in National Geographic.
This project increases the researchers’ knowledge about reasons for the nosedive in numbers of semipalmated sandpipers and points to which of its life stages are most perilous.
Semipalmated sandpipers face a variety of challenges, Holberton and Tudor say, including climate change in the Arctic where they breed, loss of coastal habitat along their migration route, and being the target of hunters on the coast of South America where they winter.
The 5-to-6-inch-tall birds are opportunists that feed on intertidal invertebrates at the interface of land and sea. Thus, they’re an indicator species for the health of mudflats as well as sentinels for the natural world in general, Holberton says.
“The Gulf of Maine ecosystem is really facing challenges,” Holberton says. “We share resources and if birds are in trouble then so are we. This is another piece of the puzzle.”
The research, funded by Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Eastern Maine Conservation Initiative, Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, utilizes 50 automated VHF telemetry receiver towers that range from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Cod.
The nano tags and towers enable the scientists to track the birds when they arrive in Maine and when they leave. Data is fed into a repository coordinated by Phil Taylor at Acadia University.
Tudor and Holberton are pleased the semipalmated sandpipers’ project has expanded; this summer, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is conducting similar research at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells. Comparing the data from Down East with data from southern Maine will be interesting and insightful, says Tudor.
The MDIF&W reviews permits for shoreland development and makes recommendations for conservation management plans for high-value habitats. Tudor says it’s important to know if the initiatives are working and whether birds’ needs are being met.
Using binoculars to watch migrating sandpipers and other shorebirds is a great way to celebrate World Shorebirds’ Day, say the scientists; it’s important for people, and dogs, to give them space so they can eat and rest for their upcoming journey.
Tudor and Holberton encourage bird enthusiasts to participate in bird counts and to contact their local Audubon Society for suggestions on ways to assist birds. Holberton invites bird watchers to like the Gulf of Maine Birdwatch page on Facebook.
Contact: Beth Staples: 207.581.3777