The Scotsman reported on the recently published findings of a biodiversity research project led by the University of St. Andrews in collaboration with researchers from around the world, including Brian McGill, an associate professor of ecological modeling at the University of Maine. The researchers found that despite fears of a global biodiversity crisis, there has been no consistent drop in the number of species seen locally around the world. The research into 100 communities and a total of 35,000 species found that while there were major changes in species found in any one place, the total number of plants and animals did not significantly change. The findings were published in the journal Science.
WLBZ (Channel 2) spoke with Robert Rice, a professor of wood science and technology at the University of Maine, for a report on the scrutiny surrounding a proposed $25 million Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) loan that would support Cate Street Capital’s Thermogen Project that aims to build a pellet mill in Millinocket that uses new, steam-based technology. Rice, a consultant to FAME on the project, says the new method is a radical change, but is an improvement in technology. He warned Thermogen will need about three times as much biomass to make pellets using steam, which has to be taken into account.
The Associated Press reported Maine’s Legislature approved roughly $50 million in bond proposals as it wrapped up for the session. One of the six approved bond proposals includes borrowing $8 million to renovate and improve a University of Maine Cooperative Extension lab that assists farmers and foresters and identifies pests, as well as plant and animal diseases. WABI (Channel 5) and seattlepi.com also carried the AP report.
The project, which was led by the University of St. Andrews in collaboration with researchers from around the world — including the University of Maine’s Brian McGill — found that despite fears of a global biodiversity crisis, there has been no consistent drop in the number of species found locally around the world.
The research into 100 communities and a total of 35,000 species — from trees to starfish — found that while there were major changes in species found in any one place, the total number of plants and animals did not significantly change, according to the release.
The researchers, who were surprised by the findings, say the study should not detract from the threat many of the world’s species are under, but that policymakers should focus on changes in biodiversity composition, as well as loss, the release states.
“Conservation scientists will need to shift from just talking about how many species are found in a place to talking about which species are found in a place,” said McGill, an associate professor of ecological modeling. “Put simply, species composition changed more often than species number, and these kinds of changes should be a focus for future study.”
The full news release is online.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report titled, “New poll shows LePage with slim lead in Maine governor’s race.” Brewer said undecided voters and supporters of Eliot Cutler and Mike Michaud are the people who will decide the outcome of the election.
WABI (Channel 5) reported the Black Bear Food Guild, a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program that is organized and managed by students in the University of Maine’s Sustainable Agriculture program, is offering CSA shares for the season. The guild is selling full ($475), half ($300) and quarter ($175) shares. Shareholders can pick up fresh produce each week from mid-June to October at the university’s Rogers Farm.
The Village Soup reported best-selling author and Camden resident Tess Gerritsen and singer-songwriter David Mallett will receive honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees and share remarks at the 212th Commencement May 10 at the University of Maine. Mallett will address the 10 a.m. ceremony, and Gerritsen will speak during the 2:30 p.m. ceremony. Gerritsen has published suspense novels in 40 countries, and has sold more than 25 million copies. Mallett lives in Sebec and has a music career spanning four decades. His songs have been recorded by more than 150 artists.
The Bangor Daily News reported the New Balance Field House will be closed May 12 for about 16 weeks to complete the exterior improvements as part of the $15 million renovation project that includes Memorial Gym. The facility’s exterior renovations include replacing approximately 22,000 square feet of insulated wall system and installing 5,200 square feet of windows. All renovations and construction are scheduled be completed as early as September.
WLBZ (Channel 2) reported Jack Cosgrove, head coach of the University of Maine football team, is one of nine people to be inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame on May 4 at its 39th annual awards banquet in Augusta. Other inductees include Joseph L. Ferris, who pitched for UMaine in the 1964 College World Series, and Edward J. Flaherty, an All-American performer at UMaine in 1975.
WVII (Channel 7) spoke with John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and two members of the Black Bear Food Guild for a report about Maine’s high commitment to local foods. Jemison said people want to know what’s in their food and how it’s grown, and he has seen a lot of that interest in Maine. UMaine students and Black Bear Food Guild members Laura Goldshein and Lindy Morgan spoke about their work within the guild. The Black Bear Food Guild is a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program that is organized and managed by sustainable agriculture students and offers CSA shares to community members in an effort to increase accessibility to fresh, seasonal produce.