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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 22 hours 47 min ago
Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, spoke to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report about how China’s rising middle class and Maine lobsters’ relatively low prices are creating a rise in American lobster sales in China. Although China buys lobsters from other countries, Bayer said the price of American lobster is competitive. “The primary competition in Asia in general is lobster from Australia and New Zealand, which has always been priced much, much higher than American lobster,” Bayer said. “So we’re able to compete on price, big time.” FIS, the website of Fish Information & Services, cited the MPBN report.
Huijie Xue, an oceanography professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Portland Press Herald article about Portland Harbor’s icy buildup and the problems it creates for sea travel. Portland is normally an ice-free port because the Gulf of Maine has strong tides, according to the article. Xue said the tides mix the water column and bring deeper, warmer water to the surface along the coast. The tidal river carries little fresh water into the harbor during the winter, making the salt content in harbor water similar to that in the ocean. But recent heavy snowfalls have brought more fresh water into the harbor, making it more likely to freeze, the article states.
The University of Maine’s Animal Health Laboratory was mentioned in the WGME (Channel 13 in Portland) report, “Maine moose numbers down, biologists tag and study population.” According to the report, there are nearly 60,000 moose in Maine, which is down from 75,000 three years ago. State biologists are monitoring the health of moose in order to determine why the population is declining. Lee Kantor, a moose biologist with Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said one of the biggest threats to moose is the winter tick. Kantor said when a dead moose is discovered, a full necropsy is done at UMaine’s Animal Health Laboratory to determine the cause of death.
Neil Comins, a University of Maine professor of physics and astronomy, was a recent guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio show. The show, titled “The latest news from outside our planet,” focused on updates from NASA and beyond.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release announcing the 11th annual International Dance Festival Feb. 21 at the Collins Center for the Arts. The performances, which are free and open to the public, will take place at 2 and 7 p.m. The event will feature performances by dancers from more than a dozen regions around the world including Vietnam, Brazil, India and the Caribbean. The festival is organized by the Office of International Programs and the International Student Association.
John Bear Mitchell, Wabanaki Center Outreach and Student Development Coordinator at the University of Maine and University of Maine System Native American Waiver Coordinator, was quoted in a Morning Sentinel article about Penobscot organizers who want Skowhegan schools to stop using the Indian image as a sports mascot. Representatives of the state’s Wabanaki — the four tribes that make up Maine’s Indian population — said they want a planning session with school officials before they agree to a larger community discussion, according to the article. The officials said resistance to the change from the Skowhegan community comes from a misunderstanding of what the image means to the tribes. Mitchell, who has helped set a structure and rules for such a meeting, said “using Native Americans along with the associated images as mascots, logos and nicknames does the opposite of honor.”
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release about the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s farming course for military veterans. “So You Want to Farm in Maine?” begins March 17, at University of Maine at Augusta. Extension educators Tori Jackson and Caragh Fitzgerald, along with other area experts will teach the course, which will be held six consecutive Tuesdays. The class is designed for farmers and those who want to operate a farm. It will cover knowledge and skills necessary to start, adapt and maintain a profitable land-based business.
Several activities are planned as part of the University of Maine’s annual Winter Carnival from Feb. 17–22. The event is open to all UMaine students. Activities will take place throughout campus and include a Mardi Gras celebration in the Memorial Union; a snowman building contest, sledding and fire pit with s’mores and hot cocoa on the Mall; a snowball tournament at the tennis courts; and men’s and women’s hockey games at Alfond Arena. For more information or a complete schedule, contact the Office of Campus Activities and Student Engagement (CASE) at 581.1736.
The University of Maine Cyber Defense Team has advanced to a regional competition at Syracuse University in March.
Members of the team will compete at the annual Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition March 20–22. The team earned its spot in the contest after placing fifth in a preliminary competition with 13 other schools that was held in January.
According to the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, the contest simulates security operations for a small company. Teams must quickly familiarize themselves with network systems and software before beginning to defend against attacks while also providing customer service to users.
More information on the competition is online.
UMaine Working With Information Security, Law Enforcement on Theft of Computer Containing Student Roster Data
A University of Maine laptop computer and media card used by a faculty member were stolen from a checked bag on an airline flight earlier this month, potentially exposing the personal information of 941 students enrolled in physics courses dating to 1999.
University of Maine System General Counsel has notified the Office of the Maine Attorney General of the information breach, as required under the state’s Notice of Risk to Personal Data Act.
Feb. 10, the laptop and media card were reported stolen from a checked bag on a flight from Seattle to Boston. The loss was reported to the airline and Massachusetts State Police.
As of Feb. 18, there has been no indication that the data has been used.
The laptop and media card contained student roster data. The records of 604 students enrolled from 1999 to 2007 included names, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, email addresses, grade data and course information. Records for 337 students enrolled from 2000 to 2014 included names, and course name and year.
The 604 whose records included Social Security numbers will be offered one year of free identity protection. Those services, to be provided by Experian Information Solutions at UMaine’s expense, include credit monitoring, alerts regarding credit changes and identity theft insurance.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Tamara Thomson, a second-year mechanical engineering major with a minor in mathematics, has worked at the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory in Orono since her first year at UMaine.
The Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory is a nonprofit organization that performs testing of horse racing track surfaces for performance and safety, as well as compares a variety of surfaces used in the industry. The lab’s executive director is Michael “Mick” Peterson, a mechanical engineering professor at UMaine.
Thomson is one of the lab’s primary testers, who has traveled to conduct on-site testing of tracks. She also contributes through training and writing. She was first author of a bulletin written at the lab titled “Predicting Horse Performance on Turf Using Three Commercially Available Monitoring Tools.” She performed all of the statistical analysis for the report.
Thomson has also worked at Biologically Applied Engineering, a corporation organized by Peterson to provide engineering services for research in the biological, veterinary and natural sciences.
Born in Brownsville, Texas, Thomson’s family currently lives in Waite, Maine. She was the valedictorian of her class at Woodland High School in Baileyville, Maine; is a student in the Honors College; and is involved with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).
Describe Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory and the work you do there
Working at Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory has been an amazing experience.
We perform analysis on samples sent from all over North America and the U.K. We look at composition, shear strength, cohesion, etc. and provide data to the tracks so they can better maintain their surfaces.
It might sound mundane, but it’s actually a relatively novel concept; testing of this sort is pretty new to racetrack managers, who have been operating simply with intuition and tradition for hundreds of years.
With the information that the lab provides, we can tell the track managers things like how long it takes for their sand to break down and how their surfaces behave at different temperatures and moisture contents. All of this information helps fine-tune the track maintenance process and ultimately helps make racing safer for horses and jockeys.
Our long-term goal is to create a database containing all the data we have collected over the years. When this goal is realized, comparing track surfaces will be a snap, and data will be easier than ever to analyze.
Describe the work you have done at Biologically Applied Engineering
While Racing Surfaces handles the laboratory testing, Biologically Applied Engineering completes on-site testing. We use the Orono Biomechanical Surface Tester (OBST), which was designed and built by Mick Peterson and his colleagues, as well as ground penetrating radar (GPR) and time domain reflectometry (TDR) to get a better idea of the surfaces’ characteristics during racing.
This past summer, I traveled to Illinois, New York, Kentucky, Ohio and Florida to work on-site. As expected, I learned so much about the mechanics of granular materials, but I also learned a lot about the politics of the racing industry and communication in general.
UMaine is the best engineering school in the state, and out-of-state schools are a touch beyond my budget.
When I was a kid, I decided I would be a wildlife zoologist. Allergies to basically everything outside culled that dream, and I devised a new life plan through the process of elimination.
I knew I needed to find something fascinating that would allow me to secure a job and be financially stable. I don’t like hospitals, and I’m not a great orator, so I ruled out medicine and law.
Engineering was a big category that was left, and it was really the only one that seemed interesting. I picked mechanical engineering because it is the most versatile. From here, I could go on to almost anything.
I’m so pleased with my choice. I have found that I fit in well with the students in my classes, I’m challenged and interested in the curriculum, and I’m very excited to graduate into the field of engineering.
What are your plans for after graduation?
As a student, I haven’t had the opportunity to see all the options that are available yet. I think my best course is to find a job in the engineering field and take some time deciding what I want to focus on before going to graduate school.
What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?
UMaine is the institution through which I am learning the skills I will need to support myself for the rest of my life. Beyond that, it’s been a safe place to grow up and figure out how to be an adult. I’ve made a lot of friends that I think will remain close for a long time. It’s definitely the college of my heart always.
A photography exhibition, “Fish, Wind and Tide: Art and Technology of Maine’s Resources,” is on display through March 21, at the Allen and Sally Fernald Art Gallery at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast.
The free public exhibit showcases photos from the archives of the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine, depicting unique and varied uses of wind energy. Maynard Bray, technical editor of “Wooden Boat Magazine,” captioned the photographs.
The exhibit is open 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m.–noon Saturday. The Hutchinson Center is on 80 Belmont Avenue.
WABI (Channel 5) and the Bangor Daily News reported about a dozen students from the University of Maine Woodsmen’s Team and Society of American Foresters Student Chapter volunteered their services for Maine’s newest wood bank in Belfast. At Maine Grilling Woods in Waldo, the students helped chop nine cords of firewood that was purchased through a fundraising effort by Waldo County Woodshed, a nonprofit that seeks to provide firewood to low-income residents. “The students were so excited at the chance to volunteer,” Jessica Leahy, an associate professor in UMaine’s School of Forest Resources, told the BDN. “Students today care about making a difference. The Woodsmen’s Team trains nearly every day on their logging sports skills, so the chance to come down and work up some wood while helping others was the perfect fit for them.”
WABI (Channel 5) reported on a University of Maine 4-H Science Saturday workshop at UMaine’s Climate Change Institute. About a dozen children in grades six through eight helped design a canister to keep ice core samples gleaned from the Peruvian Andes frozen and intact for research. “Kids were eager to give me a recommendation on how to design and pack my ice to bring it back,” said Charles Rodda, a UMaine graduate student and 4-H STEM Ambassador who will travel to Peru on a research expedition in March. “Certainly some of those ideas are going to be incorporated in how we bring back our ice.”
Lois Berg Stack, an ornamental horticulture specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was interviewed for the latest column in the Portland Press Herald’s Maine Gardener series. The column, “Sure, grow your own flowers for nuptials, but have a Plan B,” included advice from Stack and other gardening experts. “Plants are going to do what they are going to do,” Stack said. She suggested couples grow more flowers than they need in three sets at different times — “one for the date, one a little behind and one a little ahead.” She also warned growing flowers may not save money because investing in the extra flowers will probably be more expensive than buying the exact number of blooms needed.
The Bangor Daily News reported on the University of Maine women’s basketball team’s annual Play 4Kay breast cancer awareness game. The team beat Stony Brook 57–49 and exceeded their $10,000 fundraising goal for the Kay Yow Foundation to support breast cancer research. Coach Richard Barron, who dyed his hair pink for the game, followed through with his promise to shave his head if the team’s goal was reached, according to the BDN.
Middle and high school students who are interested in history are welcome to attend a National History Day (NHD) research workshop at the University of Maine on March 3.
Students, along with parents and/or teachers, will have the opportunity to meet with UMaine history faculty, graduate students and library staff from 2:30–4:30 p.m. on campus to help advance their research. Students can come with a fully developed idea or seek help starting a project for the national competition that encourages independent research.
The workshop will begin in Fogler Library, where students can discuss their research project, seek assistance with online database searches, and connect with experts who can point to primary sources in Fogler Library’s Special Collections and the Maine Folklife Center.
For more information about the workshop or to request a disability accommodation, email Liam Riordan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers, participate in NHD annually. Students choose historical topics and conduct extensive primary and secondary research related to the annual theme. Students present their work in the form of original papers, websites, exhibits, performances or documentary videos. Projects are evaluated by judges in a statewide competition, and state winners move on to the national contest in Washington, D.C.
UMaine is hosting the Maine National History Day competition March 28. Registration for the state contest is online and closes March 7. The national contest will take place June 14–18 at the University of Maryland, College Park.
A dozen students from the University of Maine Woodsmen’s Team and Society of American Foresters Student Chapter will volunteer their services for Maine’s newest wood bank in Belfast on Feb. 14.
At Maine Grilling Woods in Waldo, the students will help chop nine cords of firewood that was purchased through a fundraising effort by Waldo County Woodshed, a nonprofit that seeks to provide firewood to low-income residents.
The UMaine Woodsmen’s Team is a co-ed organization dedicated to maintaining the old woods skills and competing on the intercollegiate level in logging sports throughout the Northeast and Canada. The team has been a UMaine tradition for more than 40 years.
The Society of American Foresters is the national, scientific and educational organization representing the forestry profession in the United States. The student chapter at UMaine is dedicated to furthering professionalism, networking and the learning experience of forestry students and related majors.
A 2009 University of Maine climate change study was mentioned in a Seacoast Online article about state Rep. Lydia Blume, D-York, sponsoring a bill to help Maine’s coastal towns prepare for sea level changes. The report, “Maine’s Climate Future,” showed that Maine’s sea levels are rising and the frequency of severe storms will increase, according to the article. The report also estimates that more than 260 businesses in York County are at risk of flooding, the article states.
Mainebiz reported the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine has named former attorney Nancy McBrady its new executive director. McBrady is expected to help grow and advocate for Maine’s wild blueberry industry, according to the article. She also will help the University of Maine Cooperative Extension obtain funding for research and development programs related to the state’s blueberry industry, the article states. The Portland Press Herald also carried a report.