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
Old-timers sharing childhood stories about growing up in Maine sometimes recount hiking 10 miles uphill in 3 feet of snow to get to school — and home.
Turns out those tales, of Maine winters anyway, might not be all that exaggerated.
In the winter of 1904–05, horses pulled huge saws to cut channels in foot-thick ice on Penobscot Bay so maritime traders could deliver goods. And in the winter of 1918, people walked, skated and rode in horse-drawn sleighs across the frozen bay to Islesboro, according to the Belfast Historical Society and Museum.
That same winter, Albert Gray and his companions drove a vehicle across the frozen-solid brine. According to a Bangor Daily News report, the group made several trips in a Ford Model T between Belfast and Harborside, just south of Castine.
Historical records indicate upper Penobscot Bay commonly froze during the winter in the 1800s and early 1900s, says Sean Birkel, research assistant professor with the University of Maine Climate Change Institute (CCI). “Not every year; maybe once or twice a decade.”
February 1934 was the last time it occurred.
Today’s climate is different, he says.
For instance, summer — when the mean daily temperature is above freezing — is about 20 days longer now than it was on average in the late 1800s.
“The lakes really do freeze up later, and ice out is earlier than it used to be,” says Birkel, adding that computer models predict that over the next 40 years, the average temperature in Maine could rise 3–4 degrees Fahrenheit, with most of the warming taking place in winter.
And the number of extreme weather events — like the record-breaking 6.44 inches of rain that flooded Portland on Aug. 13 — has spiked in the last 10 years. Birkel says a 50 to 100 percent increase in rainfall events with more than 2 inches per day has been recorded at weather stations across the state.
The rise of extreme events, including heat and cold waves, is likely tied to the steep decline of Arctic sea ice since about 2000, Birkel says. Studies show rapid warming over the Arctic is changing circulation patterns across the Northern Hemisphere.
In particular, jet stream winds are slowing, which increases the likelihood of blocking events that hold a weather pattern — including heat and cold waves — in place for several days, he says. When blocked patterns finally dissipate, they tend to do so with powerful storm fronts.
Computer models generally predict that in the future, extreme weather events will be the norm, he says.
Birkel and other CCI researchers have developed online tools to assist local community planners prepare for climate changes. The tools — Climate Reanalyzer, 10Green and CLAS Layers — will be explained at the CLAS (Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainability) Conference on Thursday, Oct. 23 at UMaine.
The tools provide users access to station data, climate and weather models, and pollution and health indices, he says.
Paul Mayewski, director of UMaine’s CCI, says the CLAS software explains past, present and future changes in climate at the community level and introduces a “planning system that invokes plausible scenarios at the community level where local knowledge can be applied to produce local solutions.”
For instance, city leaders considering opening a cooling center for residents can review projections for future frequency of heat waves. Medical care workers can assess the potential for increase in Lyme tick disease. And community planners preparing to replace storm water drains can examine predicted precipitation in coming decades.
Esperanza Stancioff, climate change educator with UMaine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant, says coastal residents and communities need strategies to address sea-level rise and coastal flooding which will result, in part, to melting glaciers and polar ice caps.
UMaine Extension and Maine Sea Grant are among those working with coastal community leaders to help minimize potential hazards to fisheries, aquaculture, working waterfronts and tourism by implementing resilient coastal development strategies and practices, Stancioff says.
Ivan Fernandez, Distinguished Maine Professor in the School of Forest Resources and CCI, says understanding how Maine’s climate is changing is critical for informed risk assessment and cost-effective adaptation.
Warming of the Gulf of Maine impacts the risk of lobster disease as well as market uncertainty, Fernandez says. He points to summer 2012 when warming ocean water resulted in a glut of lobsters and a subsequent bust in prices. In agriculture, rising temperatures can result in an increase of insects and disease, Fernandez says, as well as crop damage and soil erosion due to intense precipitation events.
Opportunities also could result from the changing climate, says Fernandez, including longer growing seasons and emerging shipping lanes in the Arctic Sea due to the receding of the polar ice sheet.
It’s important for businesses to prepare for such changes, says conference presenter John F. Mahon, the John M. Murphy Chair of International Business Policy and Strategy and Professor of Management at UMaine.
“Business has to be engaged with government and other organizations at the local and national level,” says Mahon.
“One of the more useful tools for doing this is the use of plausible scenario planning (PSP). In PSP, we try to envision several plausible futures with equal likelihood of happening and develop a set of ‘warnings’ or ‘indicators’ that tell us which one of the several futures we have identified is unfolding so that we can adapt to it in the most efficient, economical and effective manner.”
On a global scale, Mayewski says climate change is a security issue, as it “impacts human and ecosystem health, the economy; intensifies geopolitical stress; and increases the likelihood of storms, floods, droughts, wildfires and other extreme events.”
In 2012, for instance, 11 weather and climate disasters worldwide killed more than 300 people and caused more than $110 billion in damage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center. The disasters included Hurricane Sandy and the largest drought since the 1930s — which also worsened wildfires that burned more than 9 million acres.
The CLAS framework soon will be expanded to encompass national and international planning capability, says Mayewski, who was featured in Years of Living Dangerously, a nine-part documentary about climate change that Aug. 16 won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series.
The CLAS conference, slated from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 23 at Wells Conference Center, costs $45; registration is required by Oct. 13 at online.
Contact: Beth Staples: 207.581.3777
University of Maine executive vice president for academic affairs and provost Jeffrey Hecker has announced new appointments in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate School that have resulted from a reorganization of research and graduate studies at the University of Maine.
Effective, July 1, 2014, vice president for research Carol Kim has assumed the responsibilities of dean of the Graduate School, and will provide senior leadership to both the university’s research and graduate missions. Kim has been serving as vice president since her appointment for a two-year term Sept. 1, 2013. She is a professor of molecular and biomedical sciences, and the former director of UMaine’s Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering. Kim joined the UMaine faculty in 1998 as an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology. In her extensively published research Kim uses the zebrafish as a model organism to study the innate immune response to pathogens. The goal is to identify factors that influence the regulation of innate immunity and the role of environmental toxicants in modulating the immune response to pathogens. Kim has successfully obtained funding from a number of sources including the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
David Neivandt has been named associate vice president for research and graduate studies. Since September 2013, Neivandt has served as director of the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering. He is a professor of chemical engineering and bioengineering who came to UMaine in 2001. Neivandt has been a member of the GSBSE faculty since it was created in 2006, and is the inaugural chair of the steering committee and chair of the admission committee. In his research, Neivandt uses conventional and novel spectroscopic and microscopic techniques to study the surfaces of materials. His work focuses on the determination of the interfacial orientation and conformation of protein and lipid species, including the study of protein transport across cell membranes, and studies the gelation, dispersion and phase separation of natural and synthetic polymeric species. Neivandt’s pulp and paper-related research has included the creation of biodegradable grease-resistant coatings, carbon nanofibers from lignin, and retention-aid systems. associate vice president Neivandt will provide leadership in research areas that enhance graduate education, particularly in interdisciplinary areas. Neivandt will remain the director of the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering.
Scott Delcourt has been named assistant vice president for graduate studies and senior associate dean of the Graduate School and will coordinate the daily administration of the Graduate School office. Delcourt has held leadership positions in the Graduate School since 1996, most recently as associate dean. He serves on the Executive Board of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools and as the university’s lead member in the Northeastern Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate. Delcourt has been a member of the UMaine community since 1985 and holds cooperating appointments in both the Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences and in the College of Education and Human Development.
Jason Charland has been named director of grant development. The newly established Grant Development Division is designed to increase faculty grant-seeking capacity, grant submissions and funded grant proposals at UMaine by identifying targeted funding opportunities and assisting faculty with proposal development. As director, Charland will be responsible for leading and facilitating the development, preparation and submission of large-scale, interdisciplinary funding proposals to advance Signature and Emerging Areas of research. Prior to joining the Office of the Vice President for Research, Charland was the grants management coordinator for the College of Education and Human Development, a position he held since October 2012. Faculty needing assistance identifying funding opportunities, developing proposals, interpreting review panel feedback or linking to other researchers on campus can contact Charland in the Grant Development Division.
Young men and women discuss investment strategies as they scrutinize real-time electronic trading and commodities data scrolling across numerous screens. In a scene right out of Wall Street, students examine global, up-to-the-second energy prices, stocks and bonds, interest rates and supply chain analysis, honing skills they’ll be able to employ in financial firms in New York City and around the world.
That’s what Gerard S. Cassidy intended when he created the Capital Markets Training Laboratory in the Maine Business School at the University of Maine.
Cassidy, who graduated from UMaine in 1980 with a dual degree in accounting and finance, knows the world of capital markets well.
He’s managing director of equity research at the Portland, Maine-based RBC Capital Markets. At the investment bank with offices in 15 countries he provides banking and regional economic research to clients. He’s also president of BancAnalysts Association of Boston, Inc. and he created Texas Ratio, a formula investors use to determine the financial health of banks.
The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, CNBC, CNN, BNN and National Public Radio utilize him as an expert source about banking, stocks and economic issues.
Cassidy wants other UMaine graduates to be able to have similar opportunities, so he donated a gift to make the state-of-the-art financial education lab possible. Thursday, Sept. 18, the Gerard S. Cassidy ’80 Capital Markets Training Laboratory will be dedicated in his honor.
“I was fortunate to get a solid foundation in accounting and finance here at UMaine,” says Cassidy, who lettered in football for the Black Bears. UMaine is also where he met education major Elaine Conley ’78. The two married and live in Cumberland Foreside, Maine.
“I hope that this new laboratory will bring a Wall Street environment to UMaine students and that they might benefit from exposure to a part of the business world they might not otherwise experience.”
The lab provides a variety of business educational experiences for the 950 undergraduate and graduate students and 26 faculty members in the Maine Business School (MBS) as well as for numerous other students and staff members in other disciplines.
It’s also an ideal facility to conduct portfolio management for the University of Maine Foundation, construct business models for commercializing UMaine products and analyze energy pricing for the University of Maine System.
“We are so grateful to Gerard for his generosity,” says Ivan Manev, dean of the Maine Business School.
“The new lab will be an important resource for our students and the whole university. It will help us teach business at a truly world-class level and demonstrates our commitment to revitalizing the state, which is Pathway 1 of the University of Maine’’s strategic plan.”
The lab, which measures 26 feet by 20 feet, includes two 70-inch monitors for Bloomberg data — “real-time global financial and market data, pricing, trading, news and communications tools.”
Nine leased Bloomberg data feeds supply an instructor’s workstation and eight dual-monitor stations that can be utilized simultaneously by as many as 16 students.
“Upon graduation, many of our students will accept a position where being Bloomberg-savvy on day one is a real plus and is likely to give them an advantage over their contemporaries who have not previously had this experience,” says Robert Strong, University Foundation Professor of Investment Education, professor of finance and SPIFFY (Student Portfolio Investment Fund) adviser.
One wall-mounted monitor is designated for the SPIFFY portfolio. In the early 1990s, the University of Maine Foundation contributed $200,000 to start a fund so students could apply financial knowledge they gleaned in the classroom to real-world investing.
Today, Strong advises the group of about 70 SPIFFY students who, after weekly presentations and research, make trades through a broker. The SPIFFY fund now totals $2.3 million in value.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
WVII (Channel 7) and WABI (Channel 5) reported on the University of Maine’s Welcome Weekend Day of Service. More than 2,000 first-year UMaine students took part in community projects as part of the fifth annual event hosted by The Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and First Year Residential Experience. UMaine students participates in volunteer activities at community organizations in the Old Town, Orono and Bangor areas. WVII covered meal packing on campus, where students packed more than 20,000 meals to be sent to poverty-stricken countries. WABI spoke with students helping out at the Old Town Animal Orphanage.
Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, was interviewed by Time for the article, “11 lobster facts that will leave you shell-shocked.” According to Bayer, lobsters taste with their legs, chew with their stomachs, eat each other and were once a popular prison food. Bayer also spoke about biodegradable lobster shell golf balls developed by UMaine researchers.
Amy Fried, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was interviewed by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a Morning Edition segment titled “Your vote: The debate over debates in the Maine governor’s race.” Fried talked with host Irwin Gratz about how political dynamics are playing out in Maine as Election Day gets closer.
WABI (Channel 5), WVII (Channel 7) and the Bangor Daily News covered Maine Hello, where University of Maine staff and student volunteers help first-year students move into their dorm rooms. The Class of 2018 contains more than 2,000 first-year students.
Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) about EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses. The Maine Center for Disease Control recently released a report stating a mosquito pool in York tested positive for EEE, a virus that’s transmitted to humans and animals through mosquitoes, WLBZ reported. Although a human case of EEE has never been reported in Maine, a New Hampshire resident is currently being treated for the virus at Maine Medical Center. “It’s a knocking on our doorstep — a human case — and with positive pools of mosquitoes that just means that EEE is in the mosquitoes in that area,” Dill said. He recommended taking steps such as avoiding outdoor activities during dawn and dusk to protect yourself against EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses.