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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 15 hours 47 min ago
Fdlreporter.com, based in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, reported on Maggie Halfman, a fourth-year marine science student at the University of Maine, who will conduct a research expedition in Antarctica. The Fond du Lac native will travel to a research station in October, where she will conduct an independent project for two months. This summer, Halfman is conducting research at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole in preparation for her trip. “I was pretty taken aback when I found out I would be going to Antarctica, and I don’t think it will fully hit me until I am actually there,” Halfman said. The trip is being led by Rhian Waller, an associate research professor in the University of Maine School of Marine Sciences, who specializes in the reproduction and development of cold-water and deep-sea invertebrates around the globe. Her research explores how the animals are affected by both natural and anthropogenic environmental change.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in the Portland Press Herald article, “Referendum push a plus, and risk, for Maine Republicans.” The effort to pursue referendum campaigns on eliminating Maine’s income tax and cutting welfare spending will likely provide short-term benefits for the Maine Republican Party’s candidates for election, but poses long-term risks for future legislators and the next governor, according to the article. However, Brewer said much will depend on how the ballot question on eliminating the state income tax is written, when it goes into effect, and whether it offers a plan for dealing with the lost tax revenue. He added ballot questions on the income tax and welfare could benefit Republican candidates, in a year when a presidential election and likely referendums on legalizing marijuana use will attract more liberal voters, the article states. “You have a presidential race in 2016 that generally puts Republicans at a disadvantage in terms of the electorate that comes out (to vote),” he said. “If I were the Republican Party leader, I would want something on the ballot that could counter that, especially if marijuana is going to be on the ballot.”
University of Maine Director of Athletics Karlton Creech has announced the promotion of head softball coach Lynn Coutts to senior associate director of athletics. Mike Coutts, the associate head coach of softball, has been named head coach.
Lynn Coutts was hired in fall 2010 as the head softball coach and spent the previous four seasons at the helm of the Black Bears. In her new role, she will oversee compliance, Title IX, financial aid, student-athlete conduct, sports medicine, sports performance and equipment. She will serve as the liaison to academic support, the NCAA-designated senior woman administrator and a sport program administrator.
A member of the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame, Lynn Coutts graduated from UMaine in 1987 following an All-American senior season.
She replaces Eileen Flaherty, who resigned to take a high school athletics director position in Massachusetts.
Mike Coutts joined the softball program as an assistant in 2012 and was promoted to associate head coach in spring 2014. A former Black Bear baseball team member and assistant Black Bear baseball coach, Mike Coutts graduated from UMaine in 1982 and earned a master’s degree in education/administration from UMaine in 1989.
The public good and humanities in Maine will be the focus of a keynote address by William Adams, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 13, at Point Lookout, Northport. Adams’ address is part of a free public Celebration of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Humanities in Maine, coordinated by the University of Maine Humanities Center.
In addition to the keynote address, Adams will join a panel discussion about the “Historical Atlas of Maine,” published in January by the University of Maine Press. Joining Adams on the panel will be Stephen Hornsby, director of the Canadian-American Center at UMaine and a co-editor of the Atlas; University of Maine Press Director Michael Alpert; Margaret Chernosky, Maine Geographic Alliance; and Anne Kelly Knowles, UMaine professor of history. Panel moderator will be Liam Riordan, director of the UMaine Humanities Center. More information about the event is online.
To attend the Celebration of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Humanities in Maine, RSVP is requested by Aug. 3 by calling 581.3582. The event is sponsored by the Fisher Foundation, the Maine Community Foundation and an anonymous donor.
The University of Maine Darling Marine Center offers free, guided, 90-minute tours of its waterfront laboratories at 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 19.
Ashley Rossin, an undergraduate student in the School of Marine Sciences and a DMC summer intern, is the tour guide. She recounts the history of the center’s founding — 50 years ago this year — and shares her perspective on the DMC today.
Scallops, crabs, lobster and squid are subjects of study in the wet lab. The histology lab focuses on deep-sea corals from Antarctica, Alaska and the Gulf of Maine, and the focus of the optics lab is to explore oceans using satellites and robots. Visitors to the aquaculture lab will learn how oysters are farmed and see the algae room where food for oysters is grown. Throughout the tour, scientists and other students will be available to discuss research, explain its significance, and answer questions.
Registration is not necessary; those wishing to take a tour can meet at the circle driveway on the lower waterfront campus. The center is at 193 Clarks Cove Road, seven miles from downtown Damariscotta. More information is online.
Jacquelyn Gill, assistant professor of paleoecology and plant ecology at the University of Maine, was quoted in the National Geographic article, “Abruptly warming climate triggered megabeast revolutions.” Around 34,000 years ago, woolly mammoths went extinct from parts of Europe, only to be replaced by other woolly mammoths that belonged to the same species, but had a different genetic lineage, according to the article. The same event has happened with other large animals that are now extinct. A team of scientists investigated these extinctions using ancient DNA, carbon-dating and climate records. The researchers found when one group of large beasts cycled into another, and, eventually, into extinction, it usually happened during the warm periods, the article states. “In the last two and a half million years, ice ages have been the rule for the Earth’s climate system — the warm periods are the exception,” Gill said. “Given that, it absolutely makes sense that the authors found evidence for more turnover during warmer climates, rather than cold events.” Gill said the results are also of concern in the present. “When it comes to the conservation of elephants, rhinos, or tigers, it’s clear that we need to be conserving the genetic diversity that may be critical to their survival through the coming centuries of warming,” she said.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on the Maine Summer Youth Music (MSYM) camp at the University of Maine. About 300 high school students from across the state are performing in choirs, jazz ensembles and musical theater productions as part of the intensive camp, according to the report. The students will put on a performance at the end of the week, the report states. “It’s a great opportunity for students to come together who all have the same interests — a common interest in music; and to be musicians with each other — to work together, to grow together and to learn together,” said Christopher White, MSYM camp director. “I think music is something that becomes a part of you emotionally,” said MSYM camper Mikayla Clifford. “When you love music so much it just becomes a part of your life, especially when you get to do it outside of school and be around people that feel that connection, as well.” Camp instructors also benefit from the experience, the report states. “I leave with a newfound love for working with teenagers but also being really inspired by what people can accomplish when they set their minds to it,” said Rob Westerberg, MSYM choral director.
Lois Berg Stack, a University of Maine professor of sustainable agriculture and ornamental horticulture specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WVII (Channel 7) about how to identify and properly remove Hogweed. Hogweed looks similar to Queen Anne’s lace, but can grow 8 to 10 feet tall, has a thicker stem, and blooms in a wider radius, according to the report. The plant’s sap can create a painful rash that can last for months, the report states. “As long as you have gloves and long sleeves and you’re not touching it with your skin, you’re perfectly safe,” Stack said. “It’s when you go in with bare arms and brush against it and accidentally get some of the sap on your arm and then get sunlight on it that you can have problems.” Stack recommends contacting UMaine Extension in your county if you suspect hogweed is growing in your yard.
The Bangor Daily News and Portland Press Herald reported University of Maine football and ice hockey fans will be able to watch free live video streams of all home games this season. The UMaine Athletics Department announcement means all home athletic events will have free live video streams for the 2015–16 season. “The more contact you can offer to your fans, the more affinity you can build will lead to an increase in loyalty,” Karlton Creech, UMaine’s director of athletics, told the BDN. “We’re taking an abundance mindset and want to get our product out to our fans as much as we can.” Fans interested in viewing sports outside of ice hockey and football will continue to have free access to UMaine’s America East teams through AmericaEast.TV.
Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WVII (Channel 7) about the best way to combat several garden pests. Dill said an ideal way to get rid of many common beetles is to remove them by hand or use a handheld vacuum cleaner. He said now is the time to go after pests. “The adults are out and they’re just starting to lay eggs. Later in the season that gets a little more difficult once the larvae are out,” he said, adding bigger pests, such as deer, can be kept out with a wooden or electric fence.
A 1904 report written by Edith Patch, who was a pioneering entomologist and University of Maine faculty member, was cited in a Portland Press Herald article about invasive browntail moths. In Maine, a dry spring has fostered a bumper crop of the moths that cause an itchy rash, and a state entomologist said the worst conditions in a decade could last into next year, according to the article. In Patch’s report, she described how the City Improvement Society of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, went to elaborate lengths to get rid of the moths the previous winter. The society gave $50 to the superintendent of schools, who paid children 5 cents a dozen for winter nests. Hundreds of nests were collected by the children and burned in the school furnace, the article states. “In March, groups of Portsmouth newsboys were to be seen scanning the branches overhead and darting off eagerly for browntail nests,” Patch wrote. “About the same time, a Kittery urchin was heard to remark somewhat wistfully, ‘The Portsmouth kids are makin’ their fortune pickin’ brown-tails.’”
WABI (Channel 5) reported on a partnership between Camp Capella, the University of Maine and Maine EPSCoR that allowed campers to get a chance to see and feel underwater critters such as mussels, starfish and a horseshoe crab. Camp Capella in Dedham offers children and adults with disabilities and their families a unique camp experience designed to foster personal growth and exploration. The camp experience means playing outside, getting out on the lake, but also exploring under the sea, according to the report. “We have a scallop when you take it out of the water it tends to spit and the kids love that,” said Jenn Dunham, student outreach assistant with Maine EPSCoR.
Robert Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, spoke with the Morning Sentinel for an article about a rare orange, yellow and black calico lobster discovered in a shipment to a Skowhegan market. According to the Lobster Institute, the calico lobsters are believed to be one in 30 million. However, Bayer said there is no way to estimate accurately how many oddly colored lobsters there are without them being caught, and the statistic for calicos might need to be recalculated. “Most of the numbers you see in these odd-colored lobsters is just somebody’s best guess,” Bayer said. “Nobody really knows. This is not something that’s been studied in any detail.” He said the calico coloring is not genetic, but is the result of some otherwise harmless bacteria in the natural environment, according to the article. “Sometimes this color is related to something bacterial under the shell,” Bayer said.
The University of Maine Athletics Department announced it will offer free live video streams of its 2015–16 home events.
Black Bear fans who formerly paid to watch ice hockey and football games online will now be able to watch the home events free of charge.
“We have Black Bear fans in every state of the country as well as Canada and overseas,” says Karlton Creech, UMaine’s director of athletics. “Free streaming is one way for us to thank them for continuing to support our student-athletes and University of Maine Athletics. We are thrilled to share the excitement of home games with all of Black Bear Nation and hope it will lead to further support at our games.”
Fans interested in other sports will continue to have free access to UMaine’s America East teams through AmericaEast.TV.
More information is online.
Participants of the Upward Bound Math Science program at the University of Maine will present videos and posters on a variety of research projects conducted throughout the summer.
The students will host a Group Design Project Video Show from 1–2:30 p.m. Friday, July 24 at the Foster Center for Student Innovation. The videos document the design process over the past six weeks as students have created inventions and innovations to address problems posed by Maine EPSCoR faculty and staff.
On Monday, July 27, students will participate in the program’s annual STEM Symposium where they will present posters on their individual research projects and explorations from 5 to 9 p.m. in the atrium of the D.P. Corbett Business Building.
Upward Bound Math Science is affiliated with the UMaine College of Education and Human Development and offers a six-week college preparatory program to first-generation college students from eight Maine high schools. The program specifically targets students who are interested in pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors and careers.
This summer, 31 students attended from students are attending from Central High School in Corinth, Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln, Nokomis Regional High School in Newport, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris, Portland High School, Stearns High School in Millinocket, and Schenck High School in East Millinocket.
A leading conservation scientist has been hired to lead the University of Maine Darling Marine Center, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015.
Heather Leslie begins her tenure as director of UMaine’s coastal marine laboratory in Walpole on Aug. 1.
Leslie comes to the center from Brown University, where she was the Peggy and Henry D. Sharpe Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology.
Leslie, originally from Plymouth, Massachusetts, will be the fourth director of the Darling Marine Center. Professor Mary Jane Perry has served as interim director since Kevin Eckelbarger stepped away in 2013 after 23 years at helm.
“My goals as director are to make sure that the stories of our scientists’ and students’ amazing discoveries reach a broader audience, and to support and grow the excellent research and education activities underway at the center. I want every citizen in Maine to know about the great work of UMaine marine scientists, and the impacts our scientists and students are having on coastal economies and ecosystem health,” Leslie said.
Leslie was hired to provide innovative leadership; develop new research, educational and outreach programs for the center; and to work collaboratively to further goals of UMaine.
Leslie, who in 1998 was public relations and campus coordinator at the Darling Marine Center, has expertise in marine ecology, coupled human-natural systems, conservation planning and assessment, and translation of knowledge for policy and practice.
From 2007–15, she was a faculty member at Brown. Research in her lab focuses on the connections among people and coastal marine ecosystems. As marine conservation scientists, she and her students use a range of approaches from the ecological and social sciences to investigate how diverse factors, including climate variability and changes in regulatory regimes, influence ecosystem dynamics, and in turn, social interactions. Her ultimate aim to provide scientific knowledge and tools that can help inform marine management that benefits both nature and people.
Her current research is focused on Mexico’s Baja peninsula, where she is investigating how environmental and economic change shapes the resilience and outcomes of both the ecological and human dimensions of coastal marine fisheries.
Before joining the Brown faculty, Leslie was a research fellow at Princeton University. Her work has appeared in leading scientific journals, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and has been reported on in The New York Times.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1996 from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in zoology in 2004 from Oregon State University.
“Heather Leslie is a pioneering researcher in marine conservation and management, and is an excellent choice to direct the internationally recognized Darling Marine Center,” says UMaine President Susan J. Hunter.
“She will provide exceptional leadership at the center where, for half a century, UMaine scientists and educators have developed solutions and advanced knowledge that benefits fisheries stakeholders, marine industries and coastal communities in the Gulf of Maine and beyond.”
The Darling Center began in 1965 when Ira C. Darling donated his 127-acre property on the Damariscotta River to UMaine to develop an oceanography program. The center — now a destination for UMaine marine researchers and students, scientists from around the world and area schoolchildren — is celebrating its 50th anniversary with talks and walking tours this summer and an open house Aug. 8.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
WABI (Channel 5) reported the University of Maine has been awarded more than $200,000 for climate change research. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced the award in a press release. The National Science Foundation awarded the $201,515 in grant funding to support the study of climate change and its effect on birds’ migratory patterns and food sources, according to the release. “Understanding the effects of climate change is vital to the future of our environment and economy, and the researchers at the University of Maine are on the cutting edge of that endeavor,” the senators said in a joint statement. “This grant funding will support the university’s impressive science program and help further our understanding of climate change, its geographic implications, and its impact on the food chain.” The full release is online.
The senators also recently announced UMaine is one of 12 Maine colleges and universities to receive a total of $3,649,824 in grant funding through the Student Support Services Program. The Student Support Services Program is a federally funded TRIO program that helps higher education institutions provide opportunities for academic development, assist students with basic college requirements, and guide students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary educations. TRIO programs support low-income and first-generation college students by steering them toward the academic support services that will help them succeed, according to the announcement. UMaine will receive $561,225. The full release is online, and WABI reported on the announcement.
The Bangor Daily News published an article about the Collins Center for the Art’s 30th anniversary season. The season kicks off with the CCA’s annual gala featuring “Piano Men: The Music of Elton and Billy with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra” on Sept. 12. “The gala is always a focus for us, this year especially because it’s an anniversary year. We are excited to be involving the Bangor Symphony Orchestra because the Bangor Symphony Orchestra opened the hall with Yo-Yo Ma and Isaac Stern [in 1986],” said Danny Williams, executive director of the CCA. Over the past three decades, much has changed at the center, but its purpose has remained constant, the article states. “We are here to provide top-quality live performance to our community and to our region. And like the University of Maine, it is intended to be affordable and accessible in keeping with the university’s mission,” Williams said.
Barbara Murphy, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator and gardening expert, was a guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio show. Murphy, who has more than 20 years of experience teaching the UMaine Extension Master Gardener course, took part in the show that focused on midseason gardening, planting, pruning and picking questions.
The Bangor Daily News reported on the 10th annual Maine Beaches Conference held at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. Experts who spoke at the conference said human impact poses the greatest threat to the future of Maine’s beaches, according to the article. Kristen Grant, an extension associate at Marine Sea Grant, spoke about the role water monitoring plays in gauging the effect humans have on the condition of Maine’s beaches and waters. “With pollution comes rising sea levels, species endangerment and unsafe swimming conditions,” Grant said. “Monitoring the water quality started about 10 years ago and has been going on ever since. It’s a problem we’re constantly trying to address to the public.” Keri Kaczor, coordinator of the Healthy Beaches Program and a marine professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke about how the majority of pollution problems are concentrated at spots where rivers and streams deliver storm and wastewater runoff to the sea, the article states.