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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 6 hours 30 min ago
Several people with ties to the University of Maine will be inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame on Aug. 8 in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Inductees include the late Rudy Keeling, a Perry Award recipient. The award is named after Holy Cross legend Ronald Perry Sr.; it honors those who have achieved distinction in two or more induction categories. From 1988 to 1996, Keeling coached men’s basketball at UMaine. He was the North Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year in 1993-94.
Kissy Walker, who is being inducted for her success coaching the Husson University women’s hoop team, was a starting point guard and team captain for UMaine, graduating in 1986.
Bob Warner, a three-time District I All-American and the all-time leading rebounder (1,304) and No. 2 scorer (1,758) in UMaine men’s history, is being inducted in the college player category.
Ernie Clark, a sportswriter at the Bangor Daily News, is being inducted in the media category. He studied history and journalism at UMaine.
Hal Borns, professor emeritus with the University of Maine Climate Change Institute and School of Earth and Climate Sciences, spoke with the Bangor Daily News for the article, “Our rocks: Glacial hitchhikers dot Maine’s lakes, lands.” According to Borns, large rocks around the state are glacial erratics. “As the ice moves along, it picks up the ledge wherever it can,” he said, adding the strong and large rocks made of granite traveled with the glaciers and eventually touched down elsewhere, including on top of mountains or in lakes. “You can find pieces of that [Dedham] granite sitting on top of the pink granite down in Bar Harbor,” Borns said. “The classic case is that so-called Balance Rock on The Bubbles. That’s Dedham granite.”
The Boston Globe published the article “A look at rare lobsters caught in New England,” which cites statistics from the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine. The article includes photos of and information on rare crustaceans caught in New England in recent years. Each type of lobster — blue, yellow-orange, calico, split-color and albino — also includes the odds of each being caught, as determined by the institute.
Elizabeth Neiman, an assistant professor in both English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Maine, wrote an article for the Bangor Daily News titled, “‘Cisgender’ is now in the dictionary. It reminds us to reflect on our gender identity.” Cisgender, or “someone whose sense of personal identity corresponds to the sex and gender assigned to him or her at birth,” was recently introduced by the Oxford English Dictionary, according to the article. “The word ‘cisgender’ is a reminder that not everyone enjoys the privilege of comfort with the gender that one is assigned. It is also a reminder that everyone should think carefully about their own personal identity, and in particular, their gender identity,” Neiman wrote.
Morning Ag Clips reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will host “Savor the Season — A Food Preservation Weekend” at the 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Blueberry Cove in Tenants Harbor, Oct. 2–4. The weekend will be devoted to learning food preservation methods and techniques from Master Food Preserver educators, according to the article. Topics will include how to make jams and jellies, dry and ferment, pickle, and can salsa. The registration of $325 includes all programs, meals and accommodations.
The Science on Tap Seminar series, sponsored by the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center (DMC), continues at the Newcastle Publick House, 6–7 p.m. on Wednesdays in July.
July 15, the free public seminar, “Spying on our oceans with satellites and robots,” will be presented by Mary Jane Perry.
The productivity of the oceans depends on tiny microscopic phytoplankton. While a phytoplankton cell is invisible to the naked eye, phytoplankton drifting in the water can be quantified with sensors on ships, robots and satellites in space. How optical sensors, robots and satellites are used to study phytoplankton will be the focus of Perry’s seminar.
Perry is a marine plankton ecologist who uses optics to study phytoplankton — the primary producers of the sea. She earned her Ph.D. at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1974. Since 1999, she has been a professor in the UMaine School of Marine Sciences and currently serves as interim director of DMC. Perry’s recent work has taken her to the subpolar North Atlantic to study the evolution of the spring bloom and to the Arctic Ocean to study the distribution and productivity of phytoplankton under the ice.
Science On Tap continues through July with talks by UMaine/DMC scientists. Upcoming talks will focus on the history of aquaculture in the Damariscotta River and novel marine biological studies being conducted at center.
University of Maine marine scientists are part of a team that discovered chloride — the most common dissolved substance in seawater — can leave the ocean by sticking to organic particles that settle out of surface water and become buried in marine sediment.
The discovery helps explain the fate of chloride in the ocean over long time periods, including ocean salt levels throughout geological history, says Lawrence Mayer and Kathleen Thornton, researchers based at the UMaine Darling Marine Center in Walpole.
Chloride is half of the power couple called sodium chloride, or table salt, says Mayer. Chloride affects ocean salinity, and thereby seawater density and ocean circulation.
Until now, scientists thought chloride only left the ocean when seawater evaporated, leaving behind salt deposits. Such ancient deposits provide salt used to flavor food and melt ice on roads.
But using high-energy X-rays produced by a particle accelerator at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the research team demonstrated that chloride bonds to carbon in marine organic matter.
Researchers found high organochlorine concentrations in natural organic matter settled into sediment traps between 800 meters (2,624 feet) and 3,200 meters (10,498 feet) deep in the Arabian Sea.
Alessandra Leri from Marymount Manhattan College led the team, which included other scientists from Marymount Manhattan College and Stony Brook University. The team showed that single-celled algae can make organic matter containing organochlorines.
This chemical reaction can occur without phytoplankton, as well, Mayer says, under conditions similar to bleaching. Sunlight promotes the reaction so organochlorines likely form at the sunlit top of the ocean.
The team concluded that transformations of marine chloride to nonvolatile organochlorine through biological and abiotic pathways represent a new oceanic sink for this element.
The study titled, “A marine sink for chlorine in natural organic matter,” has been published in “Nature Geoscience.”
Mayer and Thornton examine the ocean using biogeochemistry — or how organisms and materials chemically interact in Earth surface environments.
The findings, says Mayer, pave the way to look for yet-to-be-discovered compounds and enzyme systems. Organic molecules that contain chlorine are often potent chemicals — including antibiotics, insecticides and poisons including dioxin.
The discoveries also raise questions, he says, including: Are such compounds made on purpose or by accident in the ocean and what consequences might they have for the fate of marine organic carbon?
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
The Associated Press reported University of Maine scientists are working on a project to use DNA to locate invasive fish species in rivers and lakes. Michael Kinnison, professor of evolutionary applications at UMaine, is leading the project that will adapt emerging environmental DNA (eDNA) approaches to detect the presence of invasive species, and other aquatic species, in Maine waters. The project will use eDNA detection to target the DNA material shed by specific aquatic species. Biologists have mostly had to rely on word of mouth from anglers and other residents to learn about the presence of invasive fish, Kinnison said. The pilot portion of the project, funded by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, includes use of water samples to describe the extent of invasive northern pike in the Penobscot River system. The Portland Press Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, Sun Journal, Newsradio WGAN and Houston Chronicle carried the AP report. Phys.org published the UMaine news release.
WMTW (Channel 8 in Portland) reported on the land-based aquafarm Acadia Harvest. The startup is part of an $8 million collaboration with the University of Maine and is housed at UMaine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research in Franklin. The company grows yellowtail to market size using land-based aquaculture production, and is providing fresh warm-water fish to Maine restaurants for the first time, according to the report. “Ninety percent of our seafood today is imported. We’d like to change that,” said Ed Robinson, chairman and CEO of Acadia Harvest. “We can provide consumers with high-quality seafood that’s grown closer to home and grown to a standard of quality that they would find attractive to them.” FIS also published an article on Acadia Harvest.
A 2011 study by the University of Maine School of Economics was cited in the Bangor Daily News article, “How Maine towns are trying to throw away less and save more.” The study found 22 percent of what Mainers throw away can be recycled and 38 percent composted, according to the article.
The University of Maine Alumni Association is collecting stories from UMaine veterans who served after World War II. The remembrances will be compiled in a book, comparable to the volume published in 2001 by Stephen Jacobs as a tribute to the Class of 1944. The project is led by Kyle Hadyniak, senior editorial intern with the UMaine Alumni Association who graduated this past May with a degree in journalism. Hadyniak can be reached at email@example.com.
Karen Pianka, a graduate student in the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine, has been awarded a Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship that begins in February 2016.
Named after John A. Knauss, a founder of Sea Grant, a program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the fellowship matches graduate students with positions in the legislative and executive branches of government in the Washington, D.C. area for one year.
“It is a great honor to be selected for this fellowship and I am very excited to have the opportunity to focus on national policy issues,” says Pianka, a candidate in the dual degree master’s program in marine biology and marine policy.
“The Knauss fellowship is an excellent milestone on the way to reach my goal of working full time on marine policy issues. I look forward to connecting with others with similar interests in Washington.”
Pianka’s advisers are Teresa Johnson, associate professor of marine policy, and Paul Rawson, associate professor of marine science.
“I am extremely excited about Karen’s selection as a Knauss fellow,” says Johnson. “With her considerable experience communicating and engaging with stakeholders and keen understanding of both science and policy, she is a perfect fit for this fellowship.”
“Karen’s research has centered on Maine’s aquaculture industry; she has worked closely with members of Maine’s shellfish culture,” says Rawson. “Through her interaction with industry members she has gained a strong appreciation for how science and policy impact their businesses.”
Pianka grew up in Austin, Texas. She holds bachelor’s degrees in music and biology from the University of Texas at Austin and Oberlin College, respectively. She has considerable experience with stakeholders and decision-makers through her work at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
In addition to Sea Grant, the Maine Agriculture and Forest Experiment Station and the School of Marine Sciences have financially supported Pianka. Additional funding for her research has been provided by the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center.
Pianka joins Noah Oppenheim, a graduate student at the UMaine Darling Marine Center in Walpole, as well as 74 other graduates from around the nation in the Knauss Class of 2016.
Maine Sea Grant will begin accepting applications for 2017 Knauss Fellowships in December.
WVII (Channel 7) reported on a Young Authors Camp put on by the Maine Writing Project at the University of Maine. More than 40 students in grades 3–12 are participating in the weeklong program that encourages youth to explore their imagination and writing skills. Students are challenged to develop their writing in a variety of ways with experienced teachers, consultants and guest speakers, according to the report. “It gives them the opportunity to do what they love, which is write. It gives them lessons in writing, and it gives them a chance to share with an audience other than what they have at their schools. So it opens up possibilities for them,” said Brenda Jackson, director of the camp.
The Bangor Daily News reported former WNBA player Edniesha Curry has been named an assistant coach for the University of Maine women’s basketball team. “She is a gifted skill instructor and motivator and will bring tremendous energy to our program,” head coach Richard Barron said. “Coach Eddie has an infectious personality and enthusiasm which I know will result in greater productivity with our players.” Curry spent the past four years training and developing players across the world with stops in Vietnam, China, Israel and Palestine, according to the article. Most recently, she was the head coach for SSA Basketball in Ho Chi Minh City where she was in charge of the delivery of basketball programs across the city for players who were age 6–18, the article states. Curry was in the WNBA for four years starting in 2002.
Michael Howard, a philosophy professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in The Des Moines Register article, “Socialist battle cry: Frustrated voters look to Sanders.” Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a Vermont U.S. senator who describes himself as a democratic socialist, has been gaining support among voters who are looking to socialist-leaning policies in response to the greed of corporate America, according to the article. Howard, who studies socialism, said Sanders’ issues aren’t “really socialist in any rigorous sense.” He added that if by socialist one means restoring public investment in infrastructure, equality in educational opportunity, greater equity in tax laws, and accountability for big banks and corporations, “then we are at a moment when the nation may be ripe for the pendulum to swing in that direction,” the article states.
USA Today, ABC News, UPI, WMTW (Channel 8 in Portland) and the Portland Press Herald cited statistics from the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine for a report about an orange and brown split-colored lobster that was found at the Pine Point Fisherman’s Co-Op in Scarborough. According to researchers at the institute, the chances of finding a split-colored lobster is one in 50 million, and only the colorless albino lobster is rarer with odds of one in 100 million.
The Maine Edge reported on a short film written and directed by Ryan Shelley, a graduate student in the Intermedia MFA program, that will be shown as part of the Maine Shorts series at the Maine International Film Festival. “Harvey’s Dream” is a 12-minute film based on the short story by Stephen King. The film will be shown at 9:15 p.m. Thursday, July 16 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18 at Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville. UMaine professor Owen Smith is the film’s executive producer. Part-time faculty member Sheridan Kelley also helped produce the piece, according to the article.
Enjoy the taste of summer fruits and vegetables all year by taking the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Preserving the Harvest workshop 2–5 p.m. Sunday, July 26, at Frinklepod Farm, 244 Log Cabin Road, Arundel.
Extension Master Food Preserver volunteer Lynn Dodd will lead the workshop, which features hands-on, USDA-recommended food preservation methods, including hot water bath canning. Participants will make tomato salsa to take home. Fresh produce, canning jars and other canning equipment will be provided. Participants should bring a pot holder.
Cost is $20 per person; partial scholarships are available. Register online by July 13. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (toll-free in Maine).
Paul Mayewski and Dan Dixon are on thin ice.
Mayewski, director of the University of Maine Climate Change Institute, and Dixon, a research assistant professor with CCI, are featured in the shortened version of the award-winning film “Thin Ice: The Inside Story of Climate Science,” that MPBN will broadcast at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 12.
The full-length film, which screened in more than 200 locations around the planet on Earth Day 2013, seeks to provide people on every continent an inside view of the scope of human activity and scientific examination being conducted to understand the world’s changing climate.
The film by David Sington and Simon Lamb won a number of awards. It was the 2014 Official Selection at the San Francisco Green Film Festival; the 2014 Audience Favorite at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival; a 2013 Official Selection of the Sheffield Doc/Fest; and a 2013 Best Popular Science Film at Baikal International Film Fest.
A crowdfunding campaign raised money to create this 60-minute version of the film, which is being distributed by American Public Television to 90 stations in 40 states this month.
Mayewski has helped to establish an in-depth understanding of polar climatology. He chairs and leads the International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition (ITASE), a 21-nation program that explores the last 200 years of Antarctic climate history via a series of oversnow traverses that have covered much of the icy continent.
The author of “The Ice Chronicles” and “Journey Into Climate” is a Fellow and medal winner of the Explorers Club and the American Geophysical Union. In July, “Maine” magazine named Mayewski one of the state’s 50 Bold Visionaries. He was featured in Showtime’s 2014 Emmy Award-winning series “Years of Living Dangerously.”
“We have learned that Antarctica is not the timeless, unchangeable place we thought it was 20 years ago, but rather that it is capable of seriously impacting the climate of the Southern Hemisphere and the globe and that, in fact, this is already happening,” Mayewski says.
Dixon, a climatologist, has drilled ice cores in Antarctica, Southern Patagonia, the New Zealand Southern Alps, the Central Chilean Andes, and the Island of South Georgia.
As a member of the United States ITASE team, he has completed multiple Antarctic field seasons and traversed more than 10,000 kilometers (1,253 miles) over the ice sheet. His research seeks to reconstruct the Antarctic and global paleoclimate over the last 1,000 years by using the chemistry contained in snow and ice.
“My research has shown me unequivocal evidence of the human impact on global climate. We need to do everything possible to mitigate the inevitable consequences of climate change, and we need to act immediately,” Dixon says.
“Arming ourselves with knowledge of the approaching changes should be a priority for all. The release of this film to the American public could not be more timely. Attendees of the December 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris would do well to watch this film beforehand.”
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Woolly mammoths that 12,000 years ago roamed the treeless tundra that is now Maine are gone, but unique landscape features formed during the retreat of a continental glacial ice sheet in that epoch remain.
Down East, Maine is an outdoor historical museum. And thanks to a collaboration between Hal Borns and Josh Plourde, Ice Age creations are now part of the digital age.
Starting in his senior year as an undergraduate in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences, Plourde designed a free iPad app to enable ecotourists, schoolchildren and history buffs to experience Ice Age landmarks in Down East, Maine — including the Bubbles in Acadia National Park and boreal forest between Cutler and Lubec.
Plourde now is the communications manager for UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center.
“Science is my first and foremost love and to make it more accessible and relatable keeps me ticking,” says Plourde, who began designing websites when he was a high school student at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln, Maine.
Glacial geologist Borns is the app’s virtual tour guide.
The app is based on the award-winning Maine’s Ice Age Trail: Down East, Map and Guide developed, in part, in 2006 by Borns, professor emeritus of glacial and quaternary geology and founder of the University of Maine Climate Change Institute.
An Internet connection isn’t necessary to use the app that highlights 46 unique landscape features created between 13,000 and 16,000 years ago when the Laurentide Ice Sheet withdrew northward the last time.
Ice Age trail features include drowned forests, deltas, bluffs, moraines, peat bogs, glacial grooves and other natural landmarks, many of which dot the coastal corridor from Ellsworth Falls to Red Beach between Robbinston and Calais.
Ecotourists and sightseers on-site can download the app on their iPad to inform and enhance their firsthand personal experiences.
Educators and schoolchildren around the country can utilize the app for classroom lessons and explorers around the planet can make stops along the trail while couch surfing in their living rooms.
“This helps people understand how the land got to be what it is. It gives kids in school a sense of place of the land-based economy,” Borns says of Washington and Hancock counties, where making holiday wreaths, digging clams and picking blueberries are commonplace and dependent on geologic events that took place 15,000 to 20,000 years ago.
When the Laurentide Ice Sheet scraped and gouged its way northward, Cadillac Mountain formed in what is now Acadia National Park. Borns says the summit of Cadillac — at 1,530 feet — was likely the first part of Eastern Maine to emerge from the ice approximately 16,000 years ago.
When the 1.5-mile-thick ice sheet crept northward, Borns says it also carved Somes Sound in Acadia National Park. Somes Sound is a fjard — a glacially sculpted, U-shaped valley overtaken by the sea.
Ancient shoreline beaches also formed. In Columbia Falls, for instance, a 20-foot-high wave-cut bluff and terrace were created when the sea level briefly steadied 230 feet higher that it is today, then rapidly lowered. These scenic sand expanses look like they belong on a Cape Cod brochure … except they’re more than 200-plus feet above sea level in the Pine Tree state.
As the glacier melted and retreated, ocean water flooded land that had been depressed by the massive weight of the ice sheet. Over time, the land rebounded, says Borns, and the sea retreated.
For years, Borns researched the state’s landscape. Pam Person, director of Maine Global Climate Change, LLC, suggested he share his knowledge about glaciers and geology with the public.
Person, whom Borns calls a mover and shaker, knew of an Ice Age ecotourism trail in Wisconsin and thought Maine would do well to publicize its even more impressive trail.
Borns followed her advice. A few years later, with a $50,000 National Science Foundation grant, he and cartographer Michael Hermann produced the colorful map packed with photos, descriptions, directions, definitions and details, including wooly mammoth graphics that mark the 46 landmarks on Maine’s Ice Age Trail: Down East, Map and Guide.
The map won Best of Category in the 34th annual American Congress on Surveying and Mapping/Cartography and Geographic Information Society Map Design Competition.
Borns gave maps — 10,000 were originally printed — to schools and town offices Down East. And the map — which Borns estimates represents about $1 million in research — sells for $8.95 at the UMaine Bookstore. Proceeds from sales of maps are used to produce more copies.
A website — iceagetrail.umaine.edu — was created to accompany and complement the map. And this spring, Borns and Plourde unveiled the free iPad app and an updated website.
For the app, Plourde shot video interviews — sometimes in multiple seasons — with Borns at landmarks; Borns shares details and history about the respective features.
The app also highlights photos taken by photographer Jeff Kirlin as well as facts, details and geology history from the information-dense map.
Borns — whose career has spanned decades and continents — is at ease talking in-depth about glacial ecology. His interest in geology was sparked at Tufts University. Though he started on the electrical engineering track, after he heard a lecture about the Grand Canyon in an elective geology class, he changed course.
He earned a bachelor’s at Tufts and a master’s and doctorate at Boston University, all in geology. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University before arriving at UMaine. Borns estimates during his career, he advised and shared his interest in geology with about 3,000 students, including UMaine paleoclimatologist Karl Kreutz.
Plourde, like Borns, intended to pursue engineering as a career. And like Borns, Plourde took a geology course and was hooked.
In 2012, while an undergraduate at UMaine, Plourde traveled with Kreutz to conduct field research in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, on the Kahiltna Glacier that flows from Mount McKinley. He graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s in Earth and Climate Sciences.
While working on the app, Plourde says he learned a lot about the formation of Cadillac Mountain — one of his favorite Maine spots.
Borns has more than a few geological tales to tell about Maine sites.
For instance, in addition to beaches 230 feet above sea level, Borns says seashells have been unearthed beneath the paper mill in East Millinocket along the West Branch of the Penobscot River, more than 100 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Those shells indicate how far afield the sea invaded the land after the glacial ice sheet retreated and before the Earth’s crust rebounded.
And, says Borns, the remains of a Woolly mammoth were excavated in Scarborough.
With the app, people locally and worldwide can learn about the state’s geological history and tour Maine’s beautiful and unique outdoor museum.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777