University of Maine News
Windpower Monthly published an article about the platform of VolturnUS, a prototype that’s one-eighth the scale of a full-size offshore wind turbine that was deployed off the coast of Castine in June 2013. VolturnUS was created by the University of Maine-led DeepCwind Consortium. During its deployment, the platform has experienced storm conditions allowing UMaine to gather data on how it copes in rough seas, the article states.
WABI (Channel 5) reported the University of Maine’s Wallace Pool recently added two new banners that show some of the UMaine swimming and diving team’s best athletes. The banners were made possible by funds raised during Erin’s Run 5K Road Race. The run was created in honor of former UMaine student and swimmer Erin Woolley who passed away from cancer in 2010.
WLBZ (Channel 2) sat down with University of Maine alumnus Gerard S. Cassidy, who graduated from UMaine in 1980 with a dual degree in accounting and finance, to talk about his career and giving back to his alma mater. Made possible by Cassidy’s donation, the Maine Business School dedicated the Gerard S. Cassidy ’80 Capital Markets Training Laboratory in September. Cassidy said he wanted to create the lab to give UMaine students the same opportunities he had by creating a state-of-the-art financial education lab with Bloomberg terminals that allow students to view real-time electronic trading and commodities data. “There are great opportunities for these kids and hopefully this lab will make those opportunities even bigger,” Cassidy said. Maine Business School students also spoke about the lab and how they manage SPIFFY, the Student Portfolio Investment Fund, which now totals $2.3 million in value. Robert Strong, University Foundation Professor of Investment Education, professor of finance and SPIFFY adviser also was interviewed.
Research being conducted by Yong Chen, a fisheries scientist at the University of Maine, was mentioned in the Portland Press Herald article, “Fishermen say new restrictions unfairly overlook cod caught in lobster traps.” According to the article, emergency restrictions aimed at protecting declining cod stocks in the Gulf of Maine have some fishermen worried that the region’s lobstermen — who routinely kill cod — won’t be affected by the new rules. Chen recently began studying the survival rates of cod and cusk after they are captured in lobster traps, and he plans to survey lobstermen to determine what they do with captured cod, the article states. Chen said he has found that most cusk survive, and he suspects he also will find high survival rates next year when he studies cod.
Robert Rice, a professor of wood science and technology at the University of Maine, spoke with, WLBZ (Channel 2) for a report about the future of the closed East Millinocket mill. Recently, Gov. Paul LePage said there are three bidders looking at the mill, according to the report. Rice said the mill doesn’t have any decent long-term prospects for paper making and pulp manufacturing because the mill machinery produces glossy, book and Bible paper, which have all seen decreases in demand. “Those are not strong markets and haven’t been for a number of years, so it would be a real uphill battle for that mill to reopen and remain viable. We certainly hope it could, but it would be a struggle I’m sure,” Rice said.
The University of Maine was mentioned in an article by The Forecaster about a new STEM education event held in Portland. According to the article, Portland Public Schools, in partnership with EnviroLogix, held the first STEM Exposition, which showcased science, technology, engineering and math projects and demonstrations that were created by students, businesses and post-secondary schools. UMaine was one of several institutions to exhibit at the event. The Bangor Daily News also carried the report.
A low-stress cattle-handling demonstration will be held 2–4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, at East Ridge Stable, 405 East Ridge Road, Charleston.
Curt Pate, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association stockman instructor, will conduct the free, live demonstration, which is co-sponsored by the Maine Beef Producers Association and University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
The demonstration is a prelude to the 25th annual Beef Conference, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at Ramada Inn, 357 Odlin Road, Bangor.
Registration is required. To pre-register, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Melissa Libby, 800.287.7170 (in Maine), 207.581.2788.
The University of Maine Museum of Art in downtown Bangor will host Drop and Shop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29. Parents are invited to drop off their children, who are in grades three through six, while they shop downtown and support local business on Small Business Saturday. Participants will be able to explore the galleries and create holiday cards and gifts. Children should bring a bag lunch. Cost is $25 for non-members and $20 for members. To learn more or register, contact Eva Wagner, UMMA education coordinator, at 561.3360 or email@example.com.
WABI (Channel 5), WVII (Channel 7) and the Bangor Daily News reported on a flag raising and remembrance ceremony held at the University of Maine to recognize veterans and kick off a week of events in their honor. The ceremony, which was coordinated by the UMaine Office of Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) and UMaine Veterans Association, included music from the university’s Mainely Voices a cappella singing group and the reading of a list of nearly 200 names of all UMaine veteran alumni who have died in the line of duty during World War II to present day. “A lot of them were 22, 23 years old so they really didn’t get to live their lives. They didn’t get to have families. The least that we can do is honor them at ceremonies annually and not forget them and make sure that we continue the legacy they left behind,” Tony Llerena, VETS coordinator and school certifying official for veterans, told WVII. The Maine Edge also carried a report about UMaine’s week of events to honor veterans.
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.