Paul Mayewski, director of the University of Maine Climate Change Institute, was a recent guest on the national weekly radio show TideSmart Talk with Stevoe. Mayewski spoke about leading the CCI, current research and how climate change will affect Maine.
Research conducted at the University of Maine was cited in the Inquisitr article, “Plastic bags threaten human health, according to a recent study.” Researchers at UMaine and Haereticus Environmental Laboratory found that a chemical in plastic bags made to U.S. FDA food-grade specifications had high levels of a toxic chemical called nonylphenol (NP), according to the article. UMaine marine scientist Heather Hamlin and colleagues discovered that one type of plastic bag commonly used to transport fish home from pet stores released NP in concentrations that are highly toxic to fish. The plastic bag from one manufacturer killed 60 percent of the fish within a 48-hour incubation, and fish that survived being held in the bags all died within eight days of being released into an aquarium, the article states.
University of Maine marine scientist Bob Steneck was quoted in a Business Insider Australia article about high lobster prices due to a surging demand and abnormal ocean conditions. Lobster prices usually go down in the summer as lobster fishermen bring in more soft-shelled lobsters, but not this year, according to the article. Lobsters usually molt twice a year, but because of the harsh winter, the crustaceans might only molt once, the article states. There might not be enough time for lobsters to grow and molt again before cold winter waters arrive, Steneck said, which could decrease the overall lobster landings for the year and keep the price high. Yahoo Finance also carried the Business Insider article.
The Bangor Daily News reported the beginning of the blueberry harvest has been delayed in the Cherryfield area, which could mean a lower than average harvest for the year. David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and professor in the School of Food and Agriculture, said harvesting that was originally scheduled to start Monday won’t begin until the end of the week or possibly next week. Yarborough said cold weather — with Jan. 1 through July 31 being the coldest on record — is likely what caused the delay in blueberry growth. Assuming the harvesting is done near the end of August, the delayed start will mean a yield of less than the annual average of 90 million pounds, he said, adding it is still too early to predict exactly what effect the delay might have on the overall yield.
Rick Wahle, a University of Maine research professor at the Darling Marine Center, was quoted in the Bloomberg Business article, “Lucky lobsters jam China flights, sending U.S. prices to record.” Every week for the past seven months, about 60,000 live lobsters are shipped from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Shanghai, according to the article. A surge in lobster demand from China has caused exports from Canada and the U.S. to skyrocket, and American prices are the highest ever. Lobsters are viewed as a status symbol in China, and their red color is considered lucky, the article states. “Cooked lobster does the trick,” Wahle said. The Business Times and Bangor Daily News also carried the Bloomberg article.
The Kennebec Journal reported Highmoor Farm, the University of Maine’s research farm in Monmouth, reported significant crop damage from a recent hail storm. Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, said the farm sustained a complete apple crop loss because of the hail. The fruit will likely still be used for cider and research, she said. However, a lot of the research being done on the farm’s vegetable crops, won’t be salvageable, Moran said.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Bangor Daily News for an article about the Democratic primary for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. Although the primary isn’t for 10 months, the race has become competitive with Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci recently joining Emily Cain, a former legislator from Orono who ran against Republican Bruce Poliquin when the seat opened last year, according to the article. Baldacci, the brother of former Maine Gov. John Baldacci, could benefit from the name recognition that comes with a famous last name, Brewer said, adding it may do more harm than good depending on favorability ratings of the Baldacci name today. Cain is widely perceived as the Democratic establishment’s pick, having been recruited early by the party for a second run with support from party leaders, the article states. “Those people usually don’t make uninformed decisions, and don’t devote financial support without good reason to do so,” Brewer said. “That tells you these people have already decided she’s the best candidate in the race.” As far as Poliquin’s chances go, Brewer said the armor of incumbency grows stronger over time. Brewer also was quoted in a Roll Call article on the topic.
Mainebiz reported on a new startup accelerator program offered by the University of Maine and Maine Technology Institute. The pilot program, called Scratchpad Accelerator, starts Aug. 31 in Bangor for up to three startups that have “high-growth potential.” Scratchpad is accepting applications online through Aug. 14. After the deadline closes, Scratchpad will choose businesses that will each receive seed funding, mentoring guidance and daily learning lessons throughout the program’s duration, according to the article. The program also will help the businesses fast-track ideas, which Scratchpad’s organizers said will help them save time and money, the article states.
Cumberland County Extension Association (CCEA) will hold its annual meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9 at the University of Maine Regional Learning Center, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.
An hour before the public meeting, a light meal will be served, including dessert featuring entries from the annual pie bake-off. Sponsored by King Arthur Flour, the contest is open to all attendees, and recipes will be included in a Cumberland County UMaine Extension cookbook.
The program includes a talk by Maine State Sen. Justin Alfond on “Growing Maine’s Agricultural Future: Kids and Local Food,” the election of CCEA officers, and recognition of UMaine Extension volunteers.
More information and guidelines for the pie bake-off are available online; by calling 781.6099 or 800.287.1471; or emailing email@example.com. To request a disability accommodation, call 781.6099.
University of Maine civil engineering doctoral student Andrew Young has been named a 2015 NASA Space Technology Research Fellow for his work on the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) project at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center.
A HIAD is a nose-mounted device on a spacecraft that slows the craft as it enters a planet’s atmosphere.
The NASA technology is intended to make it possible for a spaceship large enough to carry astronauts and heavy loads of scientific equipment to explore Mars — 34,092,627 miles from Earth — and beyond.
UMaine is assisting NASA by testing its structures in the lab and analyzing stresses and deformations in the HIAD.
Bill Davids, the John C. Bridge Professor and chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and Andrew Goupee, Libra Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, are Young’s advisers.
NASA annually selects a group of graduate and doctoral students to become NASA Space Technology Research Fellows. The goal is to sponsor U.S. citizen and permanent resident graduate students who show significant potential to contribute to NASA’s goal of creating innovative new space technologies for the nation’s science, exploration and economic future.
The yearlong fellowship includes a 10-week visiting technologist experience, providing Young with the opportunity to work and collaborate with engineering experts in his field.
To learn more about the HIAD project at UMaine, visit umainetoday.umaine.edu/archives/fall-2014/safe-space and umainetoday.umaine.edu/archives/fall-2014/safe-space/testing-technology-that-could-land-people-on-mars.
Contact: Josh Plourde, 207.581.2117
Black Bear pride is in full force at a middle school in Los Angeles, California, where a classroom of 23 students is focusing on the University of Maine to learn about college, what it takes to get there and how to succeed.
The students in UMaine alumna Caitlin Rafferty’s sixth-grade advisory group chose the university as the college they are most interested in and want to research.
“The students love UMaine and get excited any time we learn more about it or watch sports highlights,” Rafferty says.
Alliance Kory Hunter Middle School is a free, public charter school. It is under the management of the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, a nonprofit organization that aims to open and operate a network of small, high-performance charter middle and high schools in historically underachieving, low-income, overcrowded communities in Los Angeles.
Rafferty, who graduated from UMaine in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from California State University Long Beach, is a founding teacher of the school. She teaches English and history to sixth-graders.
As a college-ready academy, the school’s curriculum includes having weekly discussions about college, using technology to “visit” college campuses, exploring areas of study, introducing other parts of the country and identifying academic strengths needed to be successful in higher education.
“I find it amazing that these young people — who have never traveled outside the state of California — have become so invested in a state and university so far across the country,” Rafferty says.
Sixth-graders in the school select a college they would like to learn about and represent throughout their three years of middle school. They work with the same teacher and advisory group in order to foster strong, long-term relationships and establish consistency. When students reach eighth grade, the goal is to hold a college fair for the students and community to explore college and career readiness.
“As a college-ready school, our focus is to start children thinking about higher education early, as we prepare them academically and socially,” Rafferty says. “The connection to the University of Maine extends my students’ thinking beyond their community, and enables them to consider the range of possibilities for each of their futures.”
Rafferty’s students have developed UMaine cheers, created posters with UMaine logos, designed UMaine T-shirts, and decorated the classroom door to show UMaine pride.
A primary concern for Rafferty’s students is paying for college, she says. Having shared her own family’s experiences with financial aid, work study and scholarships, she hopes the students can hear more on the topic from current UMaine students and financial aid officers.
Rafferty’s students already have Skyped with a graduate assistant and some UMaine tour guides.
As part of the coming school year’s curriculum, Rafferty plans to focus on exploring careers and concentrations of study, and hopes her group will be able to communicate with more UMaine students.
Kate Warner, a Ph.D. student in ecology and environmental sciences at the University of Maine, and Mario Teisl, director of the UMaine School of Economics and professor of resource economics and policy, wrote the Bangor Daily News article, “Why there’s cause for concern with Maine’s water supply.” The article is a summary of “Water Quality in Maine,” the sixth quarterly report analyzing critical economic indicators in Maine released by UMaine’s School of Economics and the Maine Development Foundation. The publication is part of a series that explores the economic indicators in “Measures of Growth,” the Maine Economic Growth Council’s annual report on the critical issues affecting Maine’s economy.
The August 2105 issue of Down East magazine describes the recently published “Historical Atlas of Maine,” as a sophisticated, accessible book that “visualizes everything you never realized you wanted to know about Maine history.” The atlas is the brainchild of the late Burton Hatlen, a former University of Maine professor of English. The 208-page book, packed with 367 original maps, 112 original charts and 248 other images, was edited by UMaine historian Richard Judd and UMaine geographer Stephen Hornsby, with cartography by Michael Hermann. “It’s a cartographic time machine chock full of eye candy … chronicling the cultural, geographic, environmental, and economic factors that shaped the Pine Tree State,” reads the introduction of the two-page spread.
Boothbay Register published a University of Maine news release announcing the new director of the Darling Marine Center in Walpole. Heather Leslie, a leading conservation scientist, was named director of the center effective Aug. 1, 2015. Leslie is a marine scientist with expertise in coastal marine ecology; human-environment interactions, particularly those related to coastal marine fisheries; the design and evaluation of marine management strategies; and the translation of knowledge to inform policy and practice.
Artist Anna Hepler spoke with Bangor Metro about her current exhibit at the University of Maine Museum of Art in downtown Bangor. “Anna Hepler: Blind Spot” is on display through Sept. 19. The exhibit features small ceramics and metal sculptures, according to the article. Most of the art featured in the show was created this year, Hepler said. “It’s all quite abstract, but using forms and patterns in different ways,” she said.
Work by University of Maine mechanical engineering students was mentioned in a WABI (Channel 5) report about the Maine Forest and Logging Museum’s event celebrating logging machinery of the past. A Lombard steam log hauler, famous for being the first successful vehicle to run on tracks, was on display at the Bradley museum, according to the report. The log hauler was invented and built in Waterville between 1910 and 1917 and was the subject of a 2014 UMaine capstone project in which students restored the machine to working condition.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Tick ID Lab was mentioned in a Bangor Metro article on learning from Lyme disease. In the last few years, more than 1,000 Lyme disease cases were reported annually in Maine, according to the article. The disease comes from infected deer ticks that transmit the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria to humans when they bite. The Tick ID Lab at UMaine offers a free identification service to determine what kind of tick has bitten a person, the article states. However, no labs in Maine can test a tick for Lyme disease.
The Lyle E. Littlefield Ornamentals Trial Garden at the University of Maine was mentioned in the latest Portland Press Herald “Maine Gardener” column. The article, titled “Need a break from your summer guests? Send them out to the garden,” mentioned many gardens around the state — including UMaine’s Littlefield garden — that are ideal for visitors. The recently renovated garden has 2,500 species of plants, according to the article.
A course offered at the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust in February was mentioned in a Bangor Daily News article about finding new ways for lifelong clammers to continue to make a living on the flats as the industry changes. The course, which was funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and organized by the Maine Sea Grant Program, the University of Maine, Maine Aquaculture Association, Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, Coastal Enterprises Inc. and the Island Institute, brought together a large group of biologists, professors, fishermen and other experts. The group met weekly to learn about shellfish biology, shellfish management, site selection, gear and biosecurity, or biological threats to shellfish, according to the article.
A multi-institutional research team is working to understand the vital connections between landowner concerns, municipal planning, conservation activities, and the ecology of vernal pools. The team, led by Mitchell Center Fellow Aram Calhoun, has created a new website designed to provide information on vernal pools. The site contains a variety of resources on vernal pool ecology, the animals that breed in and use vernal pools, an explanation of state and federal regulations pertaining to vernal pools, and materials developed to assist stakeholders with field assessments and local mapping projects.
The research is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Coupled Natural and Human Systems Program.