University of Maine News
Cynthia Erdley, a psychology professor at the University of Maine, spoke with WABI (Channel 5) for its two-part report titled, “Social media = anti-social kids?” Erdley said the ability to remain anonymous online makes it easier for cyberbullying to grow and the constant interaction can also breed anxiety, especially in children who already have that tendency. She also said too much online social time can make it difficult for children to socialize with people around them, but could help shy children build networking skills. Erdley said there are valuable aspects to social media and the best way to use it is in moderation. “It’s nice for kids to be able to remain connected and find out about social events and share pictures,” she said. In Part 2, Erdley spoke about warning signs that social media may be causing problems for teenagers, such as a drop in grades or constantly checking social media sites.
WVII (Channel 7) reported three University of Maine researchers will travel to the Falkland Islands to learn more about the region’s biodiversity and what can be done to preserve it. Jacquelyn Gill, an assistant professor of paleoecology and plant ecology, will travel with two graduate students — Kit Hamley and Dulcinea Groff. “We are very interested in how vulnerable the species and the biodiversity on these islands are to future climate change,” Gill said. To help fund the $20,000 trip, Hamley and Groff have created and launched a crowdfunding campaign through Experiment.com. Phys.org also carried a report about the trip.
James Wilson, a University of Maine marine sciences professor, was quoted in the National Public Radio report, “Regulators ban cod fishing in Gulf of Maine as stocks dwindle.” Wilson spoke about how fishermen and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists are coming up with two different views of cod populations. “When the feds report that, on average, there are no codfish, or very few, they’re correct. When the fishermen in Gloucester report they see a lot of codfish, they’re correct. The problem is trying to manage the system as if it was a single system when in fact, it is a system that has many different parts,” he said. Wilson said that as water depths and temperatures change, fish species are moving into different places.
The Verge and The Washington Post quoted Brian Robinson, a professor of anthropology and quaternary and climate studies at the University of Maine, for articles about scientists discovering an 11,500-year-old grave of infants and a late-term fetus in Alaska. Robinson, who wasn’t involved in the study, said child burials are exceedingly rare and this discovery is the best excavated and reported finding of such graves.
WLBZ (Channel 2) interviewed Robert Rice, a professor of wood science and technology at the University of Maine, for a report about Old Town Fuel and Fiber owners confirming the pending sale of the defunct mill to Expera Specialty Solutions, a Wisconsin-based company. Rice said Expera has a strong background in paper making. “I’m sure they’re in it for the long haul,” he said. “These aren’t people who are just coming and going, and I see this as a really good fit.”
Maine Sea Grant has announced the Oct. 1, 2014 appointment of Damian Brady as assistant director for research.
Brady, an assistant research professor in the School of Marine Sciences at the Darling Marine Center, earned his doctorate at the University of Delaware in 2008. His research combines approaches from disciplines including marine biology, biogeochemistry and environmental engineering to address questions about water quality and ecosystem function.
Since beginning work at UMaine in 2010, Brady has studied how coasts and estuaries are affected by human uses as varied as aquaculture, offshore wind energy development, and eutrophication. Brady is the environmental monitoring lead for UMaine’s offshore wind energy projects and assistant director of a National Science Foundation project examining how climate change influences farmer decision-making and the consequences for local water quality.
Brady will oversee Maine Sea Grant’s research portfolio, including two-year research projects and program development projects, and will manage the next request for research proposals in early 2015. He will serve as a liaison between Sea Grant faculty, students and staff at UMaine and other research institutions, and the Marine Extension Team.
“Scientific credibility is a pillar of the Sea Grant model, and Dr. Brady’s role on our management team will ensure that we make smart investments in research, and that our outreach and education programs are scientifically sound,” said Paul Anderson, director of the Maine Sea Grant College Program.
Since 1971, Maine Sea Grant has supported scientific research that addresses issues of concern to Maine’s coastal communities. Specialty areas include healthy ecosystems, safe and sustainable seafood, coastal community development such as working waterfronts, and climate change. Last year Sea Grant generated $1.5 million in funding that supported 40 graduate students and 33 undergraduates throughout the state.
John Robert Lyman, a mechanical engineering professor who taught at the University of Maine from 1948–1991, passed away Oct. 31, 2014. His obituary is online.
Understanding the biodiversity of bacteria associated with marine algae that contribute to marine ecosystem health is the focus of a study led by three University of Maine researchers.
Susan Brawley, a professor of plant biology in the School of Marine Sciences and a cooperating professor in the School of Biology and Ecology, is leading the three-year project. At UMaine, Brawley is working with John Singer, a professor of microbiology, and Benildo de los Reyes, a professor of biological sciences.
The three-year study is a collaborative research project with Hilary Morrison at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and is funded by a more than $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation — $986,515 to UMaine and $480,016 to MBL.
“The macroalgal microbiome in space and time — maintaining primary producers in the Atlantic rocky intertidal zone,” will focus on interactions between microbes and intertidal macroalgae, and how their relationships change in response to natural and human-driven stresses.
Intertidal macroalgae, or seaweeds, provide shelter and food to many invertebrates and young fishes. Although much is known about how intertidal algae react to natural stresses, little is known about their associated bacteria and how these bacteria react to those stresses. Past studies found that some macroalgae disintegrate after bacteria are removed, suggesting the bacteria are essential to the algae’s health, according to the researchers.
The study will examine genetic, taxonomic and functional aspects of the biodiversity of bacteria associated with seaweeds that are important to the health of marine ecosystems. It will determine how the bacteria change depending on the season, position within the intertidal zone and latitudinal range, the researchers say.
The researchers say little is known about how macroalgal microbiomes change in space and time, and they hope the study will serve as an important trans-Atlantic baseline of the microbiomes’ biodiversity.
The project is one of 12 studies funded by NSF’s Dimensions of Biodiversity Program. A total of $23 million was invested with contributions from NSF’s Directorates for Biological Sciences and Geosciences, the Sao Paulo Research Foundation and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, according to the foundation.
The Dimensions of Biodiversity Program differs from traditional biodiversity research that focuses on one ecosystem by integrating multiple aspects into research projects and offering opportunities to make advances in understanding the generation, maintenance and loss of biodiversity, the NSF states.
“This year’s portfolio of projects will accelerate our understanding of biodiversity across disciplines and across scales of time and space,” Penny Firth, director of NSF’s Division of Environmental Biology, says in a press release. “Through this program, we’re witnessing a transformation in our ability to bridge scientific approaches and perspectives.”
The research will fill in gaps in biodiversity knowledge, Firth says. It also has the potential for significant effects on agriculture, fuel, manufacturing and health.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
WABI (Channel 5) reported on aquaculture research at the University of Maine for the report, “Aquaculture in Maine: A look inside.” WABI visited UMaine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR), a state-of-the-art business incubation facility and center for aquaculture research, development and demonstration on a 25-acre campus on the shore of Taunton Bay in Franklin, Maine. “The intent is that we can help potential businesses, fishermen, aquaculturists and other people that want to grow seafood,” said Paul Anderson, director of the UMaine Aquaculture Research Institute.
WVII (Channel 7) reported on the 27th annual International Culturefest held at the University of Maine. The UMaine Office of International Programs and International Students Association hosted the daylong celebration of cultures that featured exhibits, a food court, children’s activities, a style show and performances. Sarah Joughin, assistant director of International Students and Scholars Services at UMaine, spoke about the students’ love of the event. “They really put their all into it,” she said. “Every summer when people go home, they always bring a little something back from their country and are thinking about it all year long.”
The Associated Press and WVII (Channel 7) reported on the 2014 debut of “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” a Southern gothic supernatural musical created by Stephen King, a best-selling author and University of Maine alumnus; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp; and Grammy Award-winning T Bone Burnett. The haunting tale of fraternal love, lust, jealousy and revenge kicked off its national tour at the Collins Center for the Arts. Danny Williams, executive director of the CCA, told WVII the collaborative work gave students insight into what goes into making a major production. The Maine Public Broadcasting Network, The Republic and SFGate carried the AP report.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was interviewed by the Kennebec Journal and Seacoast Online for articles about election results. Brewer was quoted in the Seacoast Online article, “Election results bring Maine closer to ‘the middle.’” He said the Republican gains in Maine are a reflection of many factors such as the bear baiting referendum, which drew people who typically don’t vote, and a nationwide anti-Obama trend, the article states. “They appear to have caught up with Democrats on their ground game,” he said of Republicans. “This is an area where the Democrats have dominated for a long time. The Republicans’ strategy clearly closed the gap this time.” The KJ spoke with Brewer for the article, “What kind of congressman will Maine’s Bruce Poliquin be?” Brewer said the Republican from the state’s 2nd District rejected the “tea party” label during his campaign, but his past statements suggest “there will be some connection between him and the more tea party-type faction of the GOP.”
Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2014 Steve Gould Award.
The award was created in 1981 by the family and friends of Steve Gould in memory of “a man of honest and passionate concern for others.” The award is given to those who have demonstrated superior qualities of unselfishness and compassion in the course of service to the university and its ideals.
Students, staff, faculty members and organizations serving the University of Maine are eligible. Those involved in acts of heroism may also be nominated. The winner(s) will receive campuswide recognition as well as a monetary prize.
Nomination forms are available by contacting Suzi Miller in the President’s Office at 207.581.1516 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Forms are due to Miller by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5.
The Bangor Daily News reported on a University of Maine tour of the Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction (VEMI) Laboratory and Advanced Manufacturing Center that was given to Maine Health Access Foundation members to showcase the university’s research into helping Maine’s elderly population age comfortably and conveniently. “At the VEMI Lab, we specialize in looking at the way people move around spaces and how they use different senses,” said Rick Corey, the lab’s director of operations. “[We’re] looking at creating an indoor navigation system that would be less intrusive than camera systems you would find in nursing homes.” Len Kaye, director of UMaine’s Center on Aging, spoke about the involvement of students in aging research. “I’ve been working in the field of aging for nearly 40 years and I’ve never seen the level of interest that we’re now seeing among our younger student population. They’re building careers in researching and serving an older population,” Kaye said. Carol Kim, a microbiologist and vice president for research and graduate school dean, also spoke to the BDN about the research. “What I’d love to see in the next three to five years is that Maine is the model for the country [in terms of aging research]. People in Oregon, in Idaho and across the country, people are going to be asking, ‘Oh, what is Maine doing about this issue because they are the leaders in aging,’” she said.
A $20 million National Science Foundation EPSCoR grant that was awarded to the University of Maine in August to help establish a Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET) program in Maine, was mentioned in a Portland Press Herald article about a group of marine-based businesses and institutions that are working to apply for $7 million in state bond funding to enhance Maine’s marine industry. The money was approved by voters on Tuesday as part of Question 7. One of the groups, the University of New England, is looking to create a lab facility for its marine sciences program, according to the article. If the UNE grant is awarded, it would complement the UMaine funding to establish a network of Maine aquaculture and marine research institutions, the article states.
The University of Maine was cited in a Government Executive article on the Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park titled “Repurposed Navy installation in Maine looks for a more firm financial footing.” According to the article, the institute is centered around research and education on topics including the ecology of birds, aquatics and forests, with a major focus on citizen science, and is often in partnership with UMaine and other organizations.
Colorful cranberries are a sign of the holiday season and University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering preservation tips to enjoy the flavorful fruit throughout the coming months.
In a new bulletin, Kathleen Savoie, UMaine Extension associate professor, explains how to choose, prepare, store, freeze and can fresh cranberries. The bulletin also has several recipes, including for cranberry sauce and spicy cranberry salsa. Copies of bulletin 4045, “Let’s Preserve: Cranberries” may be ordered for $1 each or downloaded for free online.
For more information, contact 207.581.3792 or email@example.com.
Engineering News-Record reported on the new wind and wave laboratory being built at the University of Maine. During the summer of 2014, UMaine broke ground for an $8 million facility that will house W² — the world’s first wind and wave lab to feature a rotating open-jet wind tunnel above a 100-foot-long by 30-foot-wide by 15-foot-deep wave basin. The facility, which is an expansion of the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center and is being constructed by Cianbro Corp., will be used to create waves and wind from different directions converging at a point and creating a storm. A beach at one end of the wave basin will enable coastal engineers to study erosion, seawalls, breakwaters, and the impact of sea-level rise on communities. “It will allow us to build a model of a city and apply seven potentially new environments to evaluate the effects of sea-level rise,” said Habib Dagher, director of the UMaine Composites Center.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was interviewed by several local news organizations following Election Day. The Portland Press Herald spoke with Brewer about Question 1, the referendum that asked votes to ban bear baiting. He said the involvement of the state’s game wardens and biologists had an influence on the result, which allows baiting to continue. Brewer spoke with the Bangor Daily News about Republican Bruce Poliquin winning the 2nd Congressional District seat. He said a high turnout of rural voters due to the governor’s race and bear baiting referendum, paired with the current national anti-Democratic sentiment helped Poliquin win. The Maine Public Broadcasting Network interviewed Brewer about the gubernatorial race. He said the Maine Democratic Party didn’t have a compelling action agenda for voters this election. “You had Eliot Cutler with very detailed policy plans, books, proposals, all kinds of stuff; and Paul LePage had a well-defined record to run on and was very clear on what he thought he accomplished,” Brewer told MPBN. “I think [Mike] Michaud’s ambiguity or vagueness not only hurt his campaign, but I think that kind of spread to the party as a whole.”
The University of Maine will recognize veterans with a week of ceremonies, presentations and panel discussions.
The activities, which are coordinated by the UMaine Office of Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) and UMaine Veterans Association, will begin at noon Monday, Nov. 10, with an opening ceremony on the Mall.
The flag raising and remembrance ceremony will include a welcome address by Robert Dana, UMaine’s vice president for student life and dean of students; a speech by Capt. Joe Miller, a UMaine doctoral candidate and three-tour Operation Iraqi Freedom Army veteran; a performance of the national anthem and a UMaine memorial song by Mainely Voices, a coed student a cappella group; posting and retiring of the colors; and taps.
Tony Llerena, VETS coordinator and school certifying official for veterans, says VETS has compiled a list of all UMaine veteran alumni who have died in the line of duty during World War II to present day. The nearly 200 names will be read by veterans during the ceremony that will take place on the steps of Fogler Library.
The ceremony will be followed by a reception in the VETS office, Room 143 of the Memorial Union.
Other events include:
- Tuesday, Nov. 11 — Free lunch vouchers available to student veterans throughout Veterans Day; vouchers can be picked up at the VETS office and used at the Bear’s Den in the Memorial Union
- 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 — Presentation on choices involving alcohol with Mark Sterner, a CAMPUSPEAK keynote presenter, at the Collins Center of the Arts; sponsored by Greek Life
- Noon–1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13 — Veteran panel discussion on “Why Soldiers Miss War” with author and war journalist Sebastian Junger in the Coe Room, Memorial Union; lunch will be provided
- Noon–1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14 — Annual veterans luncheon with guest speaker Chuck Knowlen, Vietnam veteran and chairman of the Maine Troop Greeters, in the Bangor Room, Memorial Union
Free coffee and doughnuts provided by Dunkin’ Donuts will be available at the VETS office throughout the week.
In addition, a presentation titled “Military 101: Introduction to Military Structure and Culture” led by Col. Andrew Gibson of the U.S. Army Maine National Guard will be held from 1–3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20 in the Coe Room.
The Armed Forces Appreciation football game is set for 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, when the Black Bears take on the University of New Hampshire. The men’s ice hockey team will have a Military Appreciation game at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, when they face Vermont.
For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Llerena at 207.581.1316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.