News

WVII Covers Talk by Tastemade Co-Founder, UMaine Alumnus

University of Maine News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 11:31

WVII (Channel 7) reported on a University of Maine talk by Steven Kydd, a UMaine alumnus and co-founder of Tastemade, the world’s first global food network built for digital platforms. Kydd, an Orrington native who now lives in California, graduated from UMaine in 1991 with a degree in business administration. “To come back here to Maine and speak with some of the folks at the business school where I got my degree is pretty exciting and fun to see so many bright young students who also want to start businesses,” Kydd said of his talk sponsored by the Maine Business School.

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Brewer Quoted in MPBN Report on Final Week of Maine’s Governor Race

University of Maine News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 11:28

Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was interviewed by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for the report, “Allegiances shifting in final week of Maine’s 3-way governor race.” The campaign manager of independent candidate Eliot Cutler told MPBN that Cutler made a late surge four years ago, and almost beat Republican Paul LePage, and could do it again this election. Brewer said that despite Cutler’s efforts, some of his supporters will fall into the “anybody-but-LePage” group and vote strategically.

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Painter William Irvine to Speak at UMaine Nov. 12

University of Maine News - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 11:26

The University of Maine Department of Art will host a talk by painter William Irvine about his life and art at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 in Lord Hall, Room 100.

Irvine will be introduced by Carl Little, the author of the recently published book, “William Irvine: A Painter’s Journey.”

Irvine’s talk will include a look at his life and career, starting with his first introduction to modern art in Troon, a small village on the Scottish coast, and ending with his current work as a painter living in Down East Maine.

Irvine graduated from the Glasgow School of Art and served in the Scottish army before moving to London where he worked as part of a vibrant and emerging avant-garde scene. His move to Maine in 1968 focused his painting on the new landscapes around him — a world of sea and sky, harbors, islands and boats. Irvine’s work brought together his sense of abstract representation and more natural forms that emerged from the landscape.

Since his move to Maine, Irvine has become widely known for his provocative seascapes, as well as his more figurative paintings and still life work.

This past summer, Maine author Little published the book about Irvine to  provide readers with a sense of Irvine’s early abstract work as well as the figurative and suggestive landscapes that have come from his time in Maine, Scotland, England and France.

The lecture is part of the Department of Art’s annual lecture series and is sponsored by the Elizabeth Graves Art Fund. The event is free and open to the public. Lord Hall is wheelchair accessible.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call Laurie Hicks at 207.581.3247.

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Marine Scientist Explores Ecosystem Balancing Act on Caribbean Coral Reefs

University of Maine News - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 11:22

University of Maine marine scientist Bob Steneck participated in a study that indicates overfishing and climate change have collided to create a new dynamic on Caribbean coral reefs.

The study, led by University of Exeter geographer Chris Perry, was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

It highlights the delicate balance between bioerosion caused by feeding and excavating of bioeroders — sea urchins, sponges and parrotfish — with the natural production of carbonate that occurs on coral reefs.

On healthy coral reefs, bioerosion rates can be high, but more carbonate is typically produced than is lost to biological erosion, say the researchers.

But due to warming seas and ocean acidification, Steneck says rates of carbonate production have slowed on many Caribbean coral reefs and coral cover has declined dramatically since the early 1980s.

Still, he says, marked shifts to states of net coral reef erosion have not widely occurred because bioerosion rates experienced by corals have plummeted in recent years due to disease and overfishing of bioeroders that rasp away limestone.

The dynamics are opposite in Maine, Steneck says, because shell-crushing crabs (green, Jonah and rock crabs) have increased in recent decades.

“Marine ecosystems continue to surprise us both here in Maine and in the Caribbean because the cast of characters and the climate both keep changing,” he says.

The study, says Perry, shows the future health and growth potential of coral reefs is, in part, dependent on rates of coral carbonate production and the species that live in and on them and act to erode carbonate.

If historical levels of bioerosion were applied to today’s Caribbean reefs, researchers say there would be widespread destruction, threatening many of the benefits that reefs provide to society.

“If bioeroding species increase in number, and erosion rates increase relative to carbonate production, then this could spell trouble for many Caribbean coral reefs,” Perry says.

That trouble, says Steneck, would include if “bioeroded reefs lose their breakwater function to protect shorelines and they lose their habitat value for reef fish on which many people depend.”

Management efforts are directed at protecting one group of bioeroders — parrotfish. Although parrotfish erode reef substrate, researchers say an increase in the number of parrotfish will benefit reefs because the advantages they provide by removing fleshy macroalgal cover and promoting coral recruitment outweigh negative effects of substrate erosion.

“In essence, we need to work towards restoring the natural balance of ecological and geomorphic processes on coral reefs,” Perry says. “From a bioerosion perspective that may seem counterintuitive, but these species also play a critical role in maintaining reef health.”

In addition to the University of Exeter in England and the University of Maine, the University of Auckland in New Zealand, Memorial University in Canada, James Cook University in Australia and the University of Queensland in Australia took part in the collaborative study. A Leverhulme Trust International Research Network Grant funded the research.

To read the research paper titled “Changing dynamics of Caribbean reef carbonate budgets: emergence of reef bioeroders as critical controls on present and future reef growth potential” in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/281/1796/20142018.full.

To read the release published by University of Exeter, where Perry is a professor in physical geography and director of research for geography: exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_416424_en.html.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

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Allan Quoted in The Intelligencer Article on High School Hazing

University of Maine News - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 11:09

Elizabeth Allan, a professor of higher education at the University of Maine and director of StopHazing.org, was interviewed by The Intelligencer for the article, “High school hazing: ‘It’s not an isolated problem.’” Allan, who has conducted research on hazing, spoke about the effects and prevalence of the behavior. “It’s not an isolated problem that is just affecting a few students. There are reverberating effects to the family, friends and school — there are so many layers — and that is only when we find out about an incident,” Allan said.

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WVII Covers Annual ESTIA Conference at UMaine

University of Maine News - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 11:08

WVII (Channel 7) reported on the 11th annual ESTIA conference held at the University of Maine. The goal of this year’s conference was to inform the UMaine community about international, national and local efforts in sustainability and peace by emphasizing the importance of ethics and social responsibility as foundations for community development. ESTIA (Ecopeace Sustainability Training and International Affiliations) is a Maine-based ecological organization that promotes and facilitates sustainability and peace through education. Emily Markides, president of ESTIA, and Hugh Curran, vice president of ESTIA, spoke with WVII about the conference’s importance. Markides spoke about some of the major questions being addressed during the conference. “How can we transform and how can we heal the planet and its people?” She asked. “How can we help people in need and how can we create sustainable communities that are fair, just and equitable?”

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Student Production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Featured on WABI

University of Maine News - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 11:07

WABI (Channel 5) reported on the University of Maine’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” and spoke with several members of the cast who are students in the UMaine School of Performing Arts. “We’ve gotten great reactions and it’s awesome to finally have an audience and have people laughing,” said UMaine student Hope Milne who has a role in the play.

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Press Herald Reviews Judd’s Book on New England History

University of Maine News - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 11:06

The Portland Press Herald published a review of a book written by Richard Judd, a University of Maine history professor. The review examines Judd’s book, “Second Nature: An Environmental History of New England.” According to the review, Judd’s subject has been historically addressed from two points of view — either the environment determines the culture of those living in it or the culture of those living in it negatively affects the environment. “I resolved to combine these approaches by describing nature and culture not as antagonistic or even as dialectical, but essentially as an ecological whole: a bioregion,” Judd wrote.

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UMaine Extension Mentioned in The Guardian Article on Organic Food Startup

University of Maine News - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 11:06

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension was mentioned in an article published in The Guardian about Northern Girl, an Aroostook County company that processes the area’s surplus of organic crops. According to the article, one of the company’s founders said Northern Girl can now process about 1 million pounds of produce in the six to seven months following the August harvest. The company continues to work with UMaine Extension to learn the best way to store and preserve produce to enable year-round operations, the article states.

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UMaine Graduate School Open House Oct. 29

University of Maine News - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 11:04

The University of Maine Graduate School will host a Graduate and Professional Programs Open House from 4–6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29 in Stodder Hall, Room 42.

Those interested in pursuing a graduate education at UMaine are encouraged to attend.

The school offers doctorate degrees in 30 areas of study and a master’s degree can be earned in more than 75 areas, ranging from the arts, sciences and engineering, to professional degrees in the fields of business, education, nursing, communication sciences and disorders, global policy and social work.

The open house will include refreshments and raffle giveaways.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact the Graduate School at 207.581.3291, graduate@maine.edu, or visit the school’s website.

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Media Report on UMaine Researchers’ Discovery of Highest Altitude Ice Age Human Habitation

University of Maine News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 10:50

National Geographic, Live Science, NBC News, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Newsweek, Daily Mail and The Boston Globe were among several news organizations that reported on a study published in Science that was led by Kurt Rademaker, a University of Maine visiting assistant professor in anthropology who received his Ph.D. from UMaine in 2012 and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tübingen. In the southern Peruvian Andes, Rademaker and his archaeological team documented the highest altitude ice age human occupation anywhere in the world — nearly 4,500 meters above sea level. Their discoveries date high-altitude human habitation nearly a millennium earlier than previously documented. UMaine researchers Gordon Bromley and Daniel Sandweiss also were members of the team. Discovery News, U.S. News & World Report, The Christian Science Monitor, CBC News and Popular Archaeology also reported on the study.

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FBRI Team Hired to Study Garbage-to-Energy Technology for Maine Towns, BDN Reports

University of Maine News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 10:46

The Bangor Daily News reported the Municipal Review Committee (MRC), an organization that represents the trash interests of 187 Maine towns, is partnering with the University of Maine to research if new garbage-to-energy technology will work in Maine. The MRC board agreed to hire a team from UMaine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI) led by Hemant Pendse, a UMaine professor who leads the FBRI research team focused on creating and commercializing new bioproducts. The team will study the operations of Fiberight, a Maryland company, to determine if its “Trashanol” technology that distills municipal solid waste into ethanol, biogas or compressed natural gas will work in Maine, according to the article. The study is expected to start around Nov. 1, and the MRC would like to have a completed report before the annual meeting in January, the article states.

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Markides Interviewed for Podcast on Health, Spiritual Healers

University of Maine News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 10:45

Kyriacos Markides, a sociology professor at the University of Maine, was interviewed about “spiritual healers and the Western world’s blind eye on health” for the podcast “Not Just Paleo: Making Health and Happiness a Breeze.”

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Moxley to Speak at University of Montana, Missoulian Reports

University of Maine News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 10:44

The Missoulian reported Jennifer Moxley, an English professor at the University of Maine, will visit the University of Montana on Friday, Oct. 24 to read her poetry. Moxley’s appearance is part of the university’s fall 2014 UM Creative Writing Program President’s Writers-in-Residence Series. Moxley is the author of five books of poetry, as well as a book of essays and a memoir. She also has translated three books from French.

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CCAUE Campaign Kicks Off Oct. 29, Online Donations Accepted from Nov. 1–23

University of Maine News - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 10:42

The Combined Charitable Appeal for University Employees (CCAUE) will kick off the 2014 campaign from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29 in the McIntire Room of the Buchanan Alumni House.

This year’s CCAUE campaign will accept online contributions from Nov. 1–23. Online contributions may be made by payroll deduction, debit or credit card, or by mailing the printed form with a check to Kathleen McIntyre, UMaine’s 2014 campaign chair.

Donations using the paper 2014 contribution form, available from the campaign chair or committee member, will be accepted through Dec. 31.

CCAUE also is hosting Learn at Lunch sessions from noon to 1 p.m. in the Bangor Room of the Memorial Union throughout November. Guests are encouraged to bring a lunch and will earn 20 RiseUP Wellness Points by hearing from agencies listed in the CCAUE Donor’s Guide.

Scheduled CCAUE Learn at Lunch sessions (subject to change due to availability of agencies):

  • Monday, Nov. 3 — Senior citizens
  • Friday, Nov. 7 — Animals and environment
  • Tuesday, Nov. 11 — Veterans, peace and literacy
  • Wednesday, Nov. 19 — Women and children
  • Friday, Nov. 21 — Health matters
  • Tuesday, Nov. 25 — Grassroots and gardening

Donations of nonperishable food items or gently used clothing to benefit the Black Bear Exchange food pantry will enter guests into a drawing to win a donated door prize at each session.

More information about the CCAUE campaign is available online and by contacting McIntyre at 207.581.1541 or mcintyre@maine.edu.

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Shining a Light

University of Maine News - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 16:03

Oceanographers, water-quality experts and satellite remote-sensing scientists from around the world will shine light on developments in ocean optics and their application to environmental issues at a conference Oct. 25–31 in Portland, Maine.

Mary Jane Perry, interim director of the University of Maine Darling Marine Center in Walpole, is co-chair of the conference, Ocean Optics XXII, being held at Holiday Inn by the Bay.

“The conference gives optical ocean scientists from all over the world an opportunity to meet every two years to share ideas and exchange techniques,” says Perry. “Such communication among professionals and students is key to advancing science and developing new ways to use optics to solve ocean problems.”

Conference co-chair Steven Ackleson, oceanographer at the United States Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C., agrees.

“Optical observations of oceans on Earth are imperative,” he says. Many core environmental issues related to climate change — the carbon budget, harmful algal blooms, environmental-based management and human health and recreation — “require knowledge of how light interacts with the marine environment, the ability to monitor conditions in near real time and the capability to predict future conditions.”

Attendees from 38 countries can attend eight plenary sessions, including one led by Don Perovich of Thayer School of Engineering in Hanover, New Hampshire, who will discuss “Sunlight and Sea Ice in a Changing Arctic.”

There also will be nearly 50 shorter discussions and more than 200 posters presented on a variety of topics involving ocean optics.

UMaine researchers and graduate students are well represented. Perry, UMaine marine scientist Ivona Cetinic, and UMaine graduate Wayne Slade are reporting on their work this past summer in the Gulf of Maine that combined ship, aircraft and satellite measurements to monitor phytoplankton species. They also will report on another summer field project that used robots to study the distribution of phytoplankton under the ice in the Arctic Ocean.

UMaine professors Emmanuel Boss and Fei Chai, and graduate students Nathan Briggs and Alison Chase are also among the conference presenters.

In addition to the scientific presentations, author Robert McKenna will give a talk titled “Smuggling at Sea During Prohibition: The Real McCoy, the Bootleg Queen, Rum Row and the Origin of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

To view the complete agenda, visit, tos.org/oceanopticsconference/welcome.html.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

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Extreme Living

University of Maine News - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 13:54

In the southern Peruvian Andes, an archaeological team led by researchers at the University of Maine has documented the highest altitude ice age human occupation anywhere in the world — nearly 4,500 meters above sea level (masl).

Their discoveries date high-altitude human habitation nearly a millennium earlier than previously documented.

Despite cold temperatures, high solar radiation and low oxygen conditions at that altitude, hunter-gatherers colonized the remote, treeless landscapes about 12,000 years ago during the terminal Pleistocene — within 2,000 years after humans arrived in South America.

“Study of human adaptation to extreme environments is important in understanding our cultural and genetic capacity for survival,” according to the research team, led by Kurt Rademaker, a University of Maine visiting assistant professor in anthropology, writing in the journal Science.

The Pucuncho archaeological site, 4,355 masl, included 260 formal tools, such as projectile points, nondiagnostic bifaces and unifacial scrapers up to 12,800 years old. Cuncaicha rockshelter, featuring two alcoves at 4,480 masl, contains a “robust, well-preserved and well-dated occupation sequence” up to 12,400 years old. The rockshelter, with views of wetland and grassland habitats, features sooted ceilings and rock art, and was likely a base camp.

Most of the lithic tools at Cuncaicha were made from locally available obsidian, andesite and jasper, and are indicative of hunting and butchering consistent with limited subsistence options on the plateau, according to the researchers. In addition to plant remains, bones at the site indicate hunting of vicuña and guanaco camelids and the taruca deer.

Pucuncho Basin was a high-altitude oasis for specialized hunting, particularly of vicuña, and later, herding of domesticated alpacas and llamas. While the Pucuncho Basin could have sustained year-round residence, wet-season storms and the dangers of hypothermia, as well as the need to maintain extended social networks and collection of edible plants, may have encouraged regular descents, according to the research team.

In addition, the lithic tools and debitage included nonlocal, fine-grained rocks — some stream-polished. That would have required the plateau residents to visit high-energy rivers in the lower elevations.

It is unclear whether the high-altitude human settlement required genetic or environmental adaptations. But with evidence of high-altitude human habitation almost 900 years earlier than previously documented, the implication is that there may have been more moderate late-glacial Andean environments and greater physiological capabilities for Pleistocene humans.

“The Pucuncho Basin sites suggest that Pleistocene humans lived successfully at extreme high altitude, initiating organismal selection, developmental functional adaptations and lasting biogeographic expansion in the Andes,” write the researchers. “As new studies identify potential genetic signatures of high-altitude adaptation in modern Andean populations, comparative genomic, physiologic and archaeological research will be needed to understand when and how these adaptations evolved.”

In addition to Rademaker, who received his Ph.D. from UMaine in 2012 and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tübingen, the research team members are: Gregory Hodgins, University of Arizona; Katherine Moore, University of Pennsylvania; Sonia Zarrillo, University of Calgary; Christopher Miller, University of Tübingen; Peter Leach, University of Connecticut; David Reid, University of Illinois-Chicago; Willy Yépez Álvarez, Peru; and Gordon Bromley and Daniel Sandweiss, University of Maine.

The team’s research was supported by the Dan and Betty Churchill Exploration Fund at the University of Maine, the National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program, and the National Science Foundation.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

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Wu’s Research Featured in Wild Blueberry Association of North America Blog

University of Maine News - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:12

Vivian Chi-Hua Wu, professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine, is featured in a blog “Wild Blueberries Making a Name for Themselves in China” on the Wild Blueberry Association of North America website.

Wu, who grew up in Taiwan, says she enjoys introducing people in China to the health benefits of wild blueberries, and since 2009, she has worked with the Wild Blueberry Association of North America to do promotional tours in China and introduce chefs and foodservice buyers there to wild blueberries.

Wu has researched antimicrobial properties of wild blueberries and how wild blueberries maintain gut health. Her recent research, which she anticipates will be published soon, indicates phytochemicals in wild blueberries can fight Norovirus. The contagious virus causes a person’s stomach and/or intestines to become inflamed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Norovirus leads to the hospitalization of as many as 70,000 people annually in the United States and causes the death of approximately 800.

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Lobster Institute Data Cited in USA Today Report

University of Maine News - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:11

USA Today cited statistics from the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine for a report about a fisherman who caught the same rare calico lobster twice. Lobster Institute oceanographers estimate the odds of finding a calico lobster at 1 in 30 million, the same as for a solid yellow lobster, the report states.

 

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Blackstone Accelerates Growth Mentioned in Press Herald Article on Tech Innovator Conference

University of Maine News - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:10

Blackstone Accelerates Growth (BxG) was mentioned in a Portland Press Herald article about a group of 10 Maine entrepreneurs and community organizers who will attend the PopTech innovation conference in Camden. The annual event is held to gather an elite group of innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world to discuss the impact that technology has on society and how it can be used to solve the world’s most pressing problems, according to the article. This year, a group of Mainers selected by BxG will attend to direct energy and expertise toward solving some of Maine’s social and economic challenges, the article states. BxG is committed to building a community of entrepreneurs and innovators throughout Maine by providing advisory services, investment funds, entrepreneurial coaching and support through partnerships with the University of Maine, Maine Technology Institute and Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED).

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