Combined News

Phys.org Carries Report on NASA, UMaine Project on Phytoplankton, Carbon Cycling

University of Maine News - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 10:20

Phys.org published a University of Maine report about UMaine oceanographer Ivona Cetinic participating in a NASA project that brings together marine and atmospheric scientists to tackle optical issues associated with satellite observations of phytoplankton. The goal is to better understand marine ecology and phytoplankton’s major role in the global cycling of atmospheric carbon between the ocean and the atmosphere. “Teams involved in this project are working together to develop next-generation tools that will change forever how we study oceans,” says Cetinic, a research associate at UMaine’s Darling Marine Center.

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WLBZ, WABI Cover Third Annual Bears ’N’ Claws Event

University of Maine News - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 10:19

WLBZ (Channel 2) and WABI (Channel 5) reported on the third annual Bears ’n’ Claws lobster bake held at the home of Richard Barron, head coach of the University of Maine women’s basketball team. The event benefited the Friends of Maine Basketball and offered a chance for athletes and coaches to interact with the community. “It’s fun for them,” Barron said of the first-year student-athletes. “It’s a chance to talk about Maine, why they came and re-energize our fan base. It’s also a chance to acknowledge friends who have been there and supported us,” Barron said of the event.

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UMaine Extension Hosts ‘Preserving by the Pint’ Author

University of Maine News - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 10:18

University of Maine Cooperative Extension will host author Marisa McClellan 7–9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, at the UMaine Extension Cumberland County office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Suite 104, Falmouth.

McClellan, author of “Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces,” will demonstrate urban canning and preserving techniques. “Teaching city dwellers and home cooks how to extend the life of their farmers market purchases throughout the year is my passion,” says McClellan, who learned to can local blueberries, blackberries and apples from her mother.

In addition to canning basics, the book includes recipes divided by season. Spring includes Whole Strawberries in Vanilla Syrup and summer showcases Honey-Sweetened Apricot-Lavender Butter. Fall has Chunky Pear Preserves with Sage and winter wraps up with Quince Slices in Chai Tea Syrup.

Cost is $15 per person. Registration is online. To request disability accommodations, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine).

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Blomberg Studying Population Dynamics of Ruffed Grouse

University of Maine News - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 10:17

Erik Blomberg, an assistant professor of wildlife ecology in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Conservation Biology at the University of Maine, received a $181,518 grant from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for his proposal, “Understanding population dynamics of ruffed grouse.”

The three-year project aims to better understand how forest management practices and sport hunting influence Maine’s ruffed grouse populations. According to the proposal, the native bird benefits from many forms of forest harvest and is widely used as a game species by Maine residents and visitors.

Blomberg and his team will implement a large-scale field study to evaluate how components of ruffed grouse biology, such as seasonal and annual survival and nest success, respond to different types of forest composition and management. Researchers also will estimate harvest rates throughout the annual hunting season from October to December.

Collected information will close a large gap in the current understanding of ruffed grouse ecology in the region and will contribute to future management of Maine’s popular game bird, as well as contribute to the general understanding of wildlife ecology in forest ecosystems, according to the researchers.

The researchers say they will work closely with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to ensure results provide the greatest benefit to Maine wildlife management.

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Seeing the Sea

University of Maine News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 15:11

University of Maine oceanographer Ivona Cetinic is participating in a NASA project to advance space-based capabilities for monitoring microscopic plants that form the base of the marine food chain.

Phytoplankton — tiny ocean plants that absorb carbon dioxide and deliver oxygen to Earth’s atmosphere — are key to the planet’s health. And NASA wants a clear, global view of them.

NASA’s Ship-Aircraft Bio-Optical Research (SABOR) mission will bring together marine and atmospheric scientists to tackle optical issues associated with satellite observations of phytoplankton.

The goal is to better understand marine ecology and phytoplankton’s major role in the global cycling of atmospheric carbon between the ocean and the atmosphere.

“Teams involved in this project are working together to develop next-generation tools that will change forever how we study oceans,” says Cetinic, a research associate at UMaine’s Darling Marine Center (DMC) in Walpole, Maine.

“Methods that will be developed during this experiment are something like 3-D glasses. They will allow us to see more details on the surface of the ocean and to see deeper into the ocean, helping us learn more about carbon in the ocean — carbon that is fueling oceanic ecosystems, as well as the fisheries and aquaculture.”

Cetinic will be a chief scientist aboard RV Endeavor that departs July 18 from Narragansett, Rhode Island. She received $1,043,662 from NASA’s Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry program for her part in the three-year project.

Cetinic’s crew, which includes Wayne Slade of Sequoia Scientific, Inc., Nicole Poulton of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and UMaine Ph.D. student Alison Chase, will analyze water samples for carbon, as well as pump seawater continuously through on-board instruments to measure how ocean particles, including phytoplankton, interact with light.

Chase, who recently earned her master’s in oceanography at UMaine, will blog about the experience at earthobservatory.nasa.gov/blogs/fromthefield.

Interim DMC director Mary Jane Perry, who is participating in another research cruise this summer (umaine.edu/news/blog/2014/07/08/under-the-ice), will be involved in future data analysis.

Mike Behrenfeld of Oregon State University also will be aboard Endeavor and he and his team will use a new technique to directly measure phytoplankton biomass and photosynthesis.

“The goal is to develop mathematical relationships that allow scientists to calculate the biomass of the phytoplankton from optical signals measured from space, and thus to be able to monitor how ocean phytoplankton change from year to year and figure out what causes these changes,” he says.

Another research team also will be aboard Endeavor, which for three weeks will cruise through a range of ecosystems between the East Coast and Bahamas.

Alex Gilerson of City College of New York will lead a crew that will operate an array of instruments, including an underwater video camera equipped with polarization vision. It will continuously measure key characteristics of the sky and the water.

The measurements taken from aboard the ship will provide an up-close perspective and validate measurements taken simultaneously by scientists in aircraft.

NASA’s UC-12 airborne laboratory, based at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, will make coordinated science flights beginning July 20.

One obstacle in observing marine ecosystems from space is that atmospheric particles interfere with measurements. Brian Cairns of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York will lead an aircraft team with a polarimeter instrument to address the issue.

From an altitude of about 30,000 feet, the instrument will measure properties of reflected light, including brightness and magnitude of polarization. These measurements will define the concentration, size, shape and composition of particles in the atmosphere.

Polarimeter measurements of reflected light should provide valuable context for data from another instrument on the UC-12 designed to reveal how plankton and optical properties vary with water depth.

Chris Hostetler of Langley is leading that group. He and others will test a prototype lidar (light detection and ranging) system — the High Spectral Resolution Lidar-1 (HSRL-1). A laser that will probe the ocean to a depth of about 160 feet should reveal how phytoplankton concentrations change with depth, along with the amount of light available for photosynthesis.

Phytoplankton largely drive the functioning of ocean ecosystems and knowledge of their vertical distribution is needed to understand their productivity. This knowledge will allow NASA scientists to improve satellite-based estimates of how much atmospheric carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean.

NASA satellites contributing to SABOR are the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO), which view clouds and tiny particles in Earth’s atmosphere, as well as the Terra and Aqua satellites, which measure atmospheric, land and marine processes.

Analysis of data collected from the ship, aircraft and satellites is expected to guide preparation for a new, advanced ocean satellite mission — Pre-Aerosol, Clouds, and ocean Ecosystem (PACE), according to NASA.

PACE will extend observations of ocean ecology, biogeochemical cycling and ocean productivity begun by NASA in the late 1970s with the Coastal Zone Color Scanner and continued with the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view-Sensor (SeaWiFS) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on Terra and Aqua.

SABOR is funded by the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

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BDN Covers Yarborough’s Blueberry Industry Talk

University of Maine News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:22

The Bangor Daily News reported on a meeting at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Blueberry Hill Farm in Jonesboro. About 150 growers, processors, vendors and suppliers gathered at the wild blueberry research facility to listen to David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist for UMaine Extension, discuss this year’s crop and the latest research projects. “Although we had a late start to the season, we’ve had plenty of rainfall — ample rainfall, really — and wild blueberries like cool and wet conditions,” Yarborough said. “So growing conditions have been fairly optimal.” Yarborough said Maine’s crop usually averages about 90 million pounds, and this season he expects the yield to be in the range of 90–95 million pounds.

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UMaine Economic Impact Studies Cited in WLBZ Craft Brewery Report

University of Maine News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:22

A WLBZ (Channel 2) report on the economic impact of Maine craft breweries on local communities cited several University of Maine studies. The report states that according to UMaine economic impact studies, Maine’s wild blueberry harvest was worth about $69 million in 2012, and the lobster catch was worth about $340 million. A study conducted by UMaine and the Maine Brewers’ Guild found the state’s craft brewing industry has an economic impact of nearly $200 million and is growing. The study looked at Maine’s 35 craft breweries in 2013. Now there are 55 breweries, with three more scheduled to open this year, according to the report.

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Lilieholm Writes Op-Ed on Penobscot River Changes for BDN

University of Maine News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:20

Robert Lilieholm, the  E.L. Giddings professor of forest policy at the University of Maine, wrote the opinion piece, “Bay to Baxter: As the Penobscot River changes, so must we,” for the Bangor Daily News.

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Volunteers Needed to Collect Beach Profile Data in Scarborough, Current Reports

University of Maine News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:17

Current reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension is seeking six to eight volunteers to collect beach profile data for Pine Point in Scarborough in an effort to monitor monthly changes in sand erosion. No prior scientific knowledge is needed. The collected data will be submitted to the Maine Geological Survey and will be used by state geologists who will review and analyze the information to produce reports every two years regarding the effect of climate change on Maine’s beaches, according to the article. The Southern Maine Volunteer Beach Profile Monitoring Program is a project of Maine Sea Grant.

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Brewer Quoted in BDN Article on 2nd Congressional District Race

University of Maine News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:16

Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Bangor Daily News for the article “Why abortion could become a defining issue in Maine’s 2nd District race,” about the race between Democrat Emily Cain and Republican Bruce Poliquin. Brewer said the 2nd District is interesting because “it’s not your deep blue Democratic district or deep red conservative district.” He added that even though Maine’s not a very religious state, the district seems to lean to the right on cultural issues. Brewer said if abortion is not a determining factor in the election, it might come down to who can put ideology in second place. “They’re going to be going in and looking for someone who is willing to compromise, work across the aisle,” he said, referring to moderate voters.

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Volunteers Sought for Maine Hello, Welcome Weekend Day of Service

University of Maine News - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:15

The University of Maine’s First Year Center is recruiting faculty, staff and student volunteers to welcome UMaine’s Class of 2018. Volunteers can help during Maine Hello from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29 and/or the Welcome Weekend Day of Service on Saturday, Aug. 30.

Maine Hello volunteers assist with greeting families, answering questions, directing traffic and moving first-year students’ belongings into their dorm rooms.

Student volunteers who will be living on campus can move into residence halls two days early on Wednesday, Aug. 27. Registration is online. For more information, call the First Year Center at 207.581.1420.

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Brady to Study Impact of Climate Change, Farmers’ Practices on Water Quality

University of Maine News - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:34

A University of Maine marine scientist will examine implications of climate change on farmers’ practices and the ensuing consequences for downstream coastal water systems.

Farmers are planting earlier than they were a few decades ago and that means applying fertilizer earlier and, for some crops, being able to plant twice in a growing season, says Damian Brady, assistant research professor at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine.

Brady will examine where the fertilizer goes and how changes in farming practices affect estuaries downstream that also are being impacted by other climate-related factors, including increased frequency of extreme storms and higher temperatures.

His research will concentrate on understanding these dynamics in Chesapeake Bay; but the findings are expected to apply to agricultural watersheds around the world.

Brady also anticipates learning how management policies with different rules and incentives affect farming behavior and, subsequently, impact watershed and estuary health.

The National Science Foundation awarded Brady nearly $124,000 to create multidisciplinary data-driven simulation models to test scientific hypotheses. The entire project team will provide training for approximately 10 master’s and doctoral students, share tools and knowledge with federal and state environmental management agencies and train 15 high school teachers.

Brady is the project’s assistant director. Collaborators are from The Johns Hopkins University, Cornell University and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

He’ll start the four-year project, titled “WSC-Category 3 Collaborative: Impacts of Climate Change on the Phenology of Linked Agriculture-Water Systems” on Sept. 1.

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President Hunter Interview Posted on BDN Blog

University of Maine News - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 10:31

University of Maine President Susan Hunter was interviewed for a post on the Bangor Daily News blog “Fill the Steins.” In the article, titled “Getting to know UMaine’s new president, Dr. Susan Hunter,” she speaks about her almost 30-year career at the university, the Blue Sky Plan, her vision for the future, and some of her favorite spots on campus and in Orono.

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MPBN Interviews Redmond for Report on Seaweed Beer

University of Maine News - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 09:54

Sarah Redmond, a Maine Sea Grant aquaculture specialist at the University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, was interviewed for a Maine Public Broadcasting Network report about beer made with seaweed at the Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. in Belfast, Maine. David Carlson, the company’s owner, has been consulting with scientists including Redmond about using seaweed in the beverage. Redmond said if researchers can figure out how to farm seaweed on sea farms, then there will be a more sustainable source that could lead to innovation and new products, such as fertilizer, food ingredients, nutritional supplements or beer. NPR also carried the report.

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Press Herald Publishes Koskela’s Op-Ed on Monarch Butterflies

University of Maine News - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 09:53

Elissa Koskela, an assistant coordinator of the Signs of the Seasons program coordinated by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant, wrote an opinion piece for the Portland Press Herald about the decline of the monarch butterfly population. Signs of the Seasons is a phenology program that helps scientists document the local effects of global climate change through the work of volunteer citizen scientists who are trained to record the seasonal changes of common plants and animals in their communities.

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Sociology Staff Member, Alumna Featured in WVII Charlie Howard Memorial Report

University of Maine News - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 09:52

Laurie Cartier, administrative specialist for the University of Maine Sociology Department, and Linda Fogg, a 2014 UMaine sociology graduate, were interviewed by WVII (Channel 7) for a report on a Charlie Howard memorial held in Bangor to mark the 30th anniversary of his death. Howard was an openly gay man who was bullied and murdered in Bangor in 1984. Fogg, who now works for Wings for Children and Families serving at-risk youth in Bangor, spoke about restorative justice. “It helps people see each other as real people,” Cartier said.

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Extension Workshop Focuses on Detecting Internal Parasites

University of Maine News - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 09:51

University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a workshop for farmers on how to detect internal animal parasites from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9 at J.F. Witter Teaching and Research Center, 160 University Farm Road, Old Town.

Doctors of Veterinary Medicine Jim Weber and Anne Lichtenwalner will demonstrate how to use a microscope to identify common internal parasites of sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas. Cost is $30 per person; registration is required and space is limited to 20.

More information including how to register is online. To request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine).

Categories: Combined News, News

Christine Lamanna: Using plant ecology to study climate change

University of Maine News - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 09:45

Plants that grow in alpine environments are often the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to climate change. A number of plants have disappeared from Acadia National Park despite being protected for nearly a century. Climate change is the prime suspect. Christine Lamanna, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maine’s Sen. George J. Mitchell Center, is working with stakeholders and citizen scientists to figure out what this means for the future of native plants.

Working as part of the Effects of Climate Change on Organisms (ECCO) team at Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI), Lamanna and a diverse working group including citizen volunteers are conducting research at Acadia to find out why 20 percent of the park’s plant species have disappeared since the late 1800s. Additionally, Lamanna is creating maps predicting how important species in the state may respond to future climate change — and how those changes could affect the state economically, culturally and ecologically.

A major goal of the ECCO project is to help state decision makers understand and think about climate change impacts in Maine. It is that kind of collaborative engagement that has made working for SSI such a valuable learning experience, Lamanna said.

“My background is plant ecology and climate change. As part of SSI, I’m able to use that knowledge, but turn it to real-world problems that are impacting Maine right now,” she said.

“Through SSI, I’ve been exposed to so many different ways of approaching a problem, several of which challenged my own way of thinking. It wasn’t easy. But I think the experience of working toward a common goal with different people with different views has been invaluable. The breadth of problems SSI teams are tackling and the span of approaches are exciting,” Lamanna said.

She also values the role introspection plays in SSI projects.

“I’m so inspired by the success stories that have come out of SSI, but one thing that I value in particular is that we also turn a critical eye on ourselves, and think about what makes some projects so successful, while others struggle. That self-reflection improves the work we do and makes us all better scientists and collaborators in the future,” she said.

Soon, Lamanna begins a new adventure. She has accepted a research position with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) at their world headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. ICRAF is part of a global consortium of independent research organizations that work on food security, global change and development. As part of her new job, she’ll be helping governments and institutions in East Africa develop climate-smart agriculture portfolios through decision analysis, stakeholder engagement and modeling. The goal is to both increase food security and decrease the environmental impact of agriculture in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and other countries.

Supported by National Science Foundation award EPS-0904155 to Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine.

See more about ECCO.

Contact: Tamara Field, 207.420.7755

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Brewer Quoted in AP Article on Cutler’s Gubernatorial Campaign

University of Maine News - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 09:37

Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was interviewed for an Associated Press article about Maine gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler’s confidence in his campaign. “He really needs to start showing some improvements in the polls. And if he doesn’t, then it’s going to be a question of how much of his own money does he continue to want to throw into this,” Brewer said. Sun Journal carried the AP report.

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Press Herald Publishes Op-Ed by Segal

University of Maine News - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 09:36

The Portland Press Herald published the opinion piece, “Out-to-pasture administrators should go back to the classroom,” by Howard Segal, a history professor at the University of Maine.

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