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Research by McGill, Others Challenge Understanding of Biodiversity Crisis

The University of St. Andrews in Scotland reported on the findings of a biodiversity research project that were recently published in the journal Science.

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.

2014 Maine Studies Research and Creativity Award Winners Announced

The Maine Studies Program at the University of Maine has announced the winners of the 10th annual Maine Studies Research and Creativity Awards.

Each year the award is given to an undergraduate and graduate student — or group of students — to highlight exemplary student research related to the study of Maine. All UMaine research papers or projects related to Maine and created within the last year are eligible for the award.

This year’s undergraduate winner is a group of students: Benjamin Algeo, Shannon Brenner, Alexandria Jesiolowski, Joshua Morse, Victoria Schuyler and Braden Sinclair. Their interdisciplinary research project, “Building a Better Orono Together: Cultivating Organic Community Connection with University and Orono Stakeholders,” examined the relations between UMaine and Orono and exposed the students to the valuable practice of engaged research under the guidance of Robert Glover, an assistant professor of political science.

Hollie Smith is this year’s graduate winner. Her research paper, “Science and Policy in Maine: Opportunities for Engagement with the Maine State Legislature,” examines ways graduate students at UMaine might contribute more effectively to Maine’s policymaking process. Laura Lindenfeld, an associate professor of mass communication and media studies and public policy, supervised the project.

For the past 10 years, the University of Maine Foundation has provided financial support for the awards.

Applications Being Accepted for 2014 Summer FLAS Awards

The Canadian-American Center at the University of Maine announced it is accepting applications for the 2014 Summer Foreign Language and Areas Studies (FLAS) Award.

The award is federally funded and is offered to students during the academic year and summer to support the bilingual research (English and French) of master’s and doctoral candidates whose studies focus on Canada.

Summer FLAS Awards are specifically aimed at developing language skills. The awards are open on a competitive basis to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who seek to improve their proficiency in French as a tool for graduate research.

Candidates must be willing to commit to six weeks of intensive French study. Programs covered by the award are offered in the U.S. for students with novice level of proficiency, and in Canada for students with higher levels of proficiency. The federal grant covers up to $4,000 in tuition and offers a living allowance stipend.

The Canadian-American Center is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Resource Center on Canada and provides the award as part of its mission.

More information, including how to apply, is available online.

Morin Receives Governor’s Award for Excellence in Volunteer Administration

Lisa Morin, coordinator of the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism at the University of Maine, received the Excellence in Volunteer Administration Award at the 28th annual presentation of the Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism, presided over by first lady Ann LePage.

Morin has helped launch several successful programs at UMaine, including Welcome Weekend Day of Service, GobbleFest and Black Bear Leaders.

“These multifaceted programs take on challenges presented by the community and incorporate thoughtful reflections to help students understand how their service impacts themselves as well as the community,” the award announcement reads.

According to a media release from the Governor’s Office, “the winners are selected because their efforts and leadership have made a significant difference in the quality of life for Maine residents.”

Three other individuals and two organizations were also honored at the ceremony, held annually during National Volunteer Week in April.

More information is available online.

‘Making it in Maine’ Business Conference, Networking Event April 25

The University of Maine Alumni Association invites UMaine students, faculty, staff and alumni to the Black Bear Business Conference “Making it in Maine: Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology in the 21st Century” on Friday, April 25 at the Buchanan Alumni House on the UMaine campus.

A half-day, intensive conference from 1 to 5:30 p.m. is designed to bring Maine’s small-business owners and entrepreneurs together with UMaine faculty, economic development staff, business students and successful Maine business leaders to share ideas, strategies and techniques that promote growth. The day’s program includes presentations; tours; exhibits; and panel discussions on topics such as marketing, financing, technology and innovation engineering.

The conference will be followed by a networking event and reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The reception will feature a showcase of innovators and entrepreneurs who are helping to build Maine’s economic future, such as keynote speaker, Desmond Fitzgerald, entrepreneur in residence for the Maine Venture Fund.

Registration is required and student attendance is limited on a first-come, first-served basis. Students, faculty and staff can attend for free, and alumni registration is $25. The deadline for online registration is 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 22. To register after April 22, participants can call 800.934.2586, ext. 11146. More information, including a complete schedule and registration forms, is available online.

MAAV Event to Raise Awareness, Attempt to Set World Record

The University of Maine student group Male Athletes Against Violence will sponsor an event at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 30 in Alfond Arena to raise awareness about relationship violence.

The event, Unwrapping the Not-So-Sweet Truth of Relationship Violence, also will be an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the largest number of candies unwrapped at one time.

The current world record of 614 candies unwrapped at one time is held by Tarleton State University.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will include speakers and information tables by Spruce Run, Rape Response Services and the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. For those participating in the record book event, wrapped candies will be provided.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Sandy Caron, 207.581.3138.

UMaine, O’Brien Medical Collaboration Results in Patented Device

O’Brien Medical announced it has been granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its Electronic Tuning Fork, or ETF. The device offers a significant improvement over current methods used by doctors to detect diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), a common precursor to diabetic limb loss.

The development of the ETF was made possible through a collaboration with Dr. Todd O’Brien, president and founder of O’Brien Medical, and the University of Maine.

More than five years ago, O’Brien approached UMaine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center for help developing a proof-of-concept ETF, and then worked with Bruce Segee of UMaine’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to develop the beta and commercial versions of the device.

Segee calls the project a perfect example of how the university can help grow the Maine economy.

A Maine electronics manufacturer has been selected to produce the ETF, and O’Brien expects the device will be available for purchase in late 2014.

The full news release is available online.

New Balance Field House and Memorial Gym Project Update

New Balance Field House will be closed May 12 for approximately 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. The 8-foot windows at the top of the facility’s high walls are key to filling the interior with ambient light, comparable to the original design of the field house when it was constructed in 1924. The windows were replaced by insulation in the late 1970s.

The exterior renovations were deferred until summer to accommodate the indoor track season, and will not deter the annual Special Olympics on campus or UMaine’s many youth sports camps.

The Pit in Memorial Gym closed for five weeks beginning April 7 for the installation of a sprinkler system. During that time, work will also begin for new and renovated men’s and women’s sports locker rooms.

All renovations and construction are scheduled be completed as early as September. The project is one of UMaine’s major initiatives under Pathway 5, Stewardship of Place: Restoring the Dream, of the Blue Sky Plan.

David Wells Featured Soloist for Jazz Ensemble Concert

The University of Maine Jazz Ensemble will perform in concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24, at Minsky Recital Hall.

Associate professor of trumpet Jack Burt directs the 20-piece big band, which performs music from all periods of jazz, including swing band music, bebop, fusion and funk.

David Wells will be the featured soloist on saxophone. The Maine-based jazz saxophonist teaches at Bates College and the University of Maine at Augusta. He has recorded or performed with Rosemary Clooney, funk pioneer Zigaboo Modeliste and comedian Don Rickles, as well as many Maine jazz musicians and ensembles.

Tickets are $9 or free with a student MaineCard. For tickets, call 207.581.4721. For disability accommodations, call 207.581.1755.

Black Bear Food Guild Offering CSA Shares

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.

In an effort to increase accessibility to fresh, seasonal produce for all members of the community, the Black Bear Food Guild is offering full, half and quarter shares. The 2014 season marks the first time the guild will be offering quarter shares, which are recommended for one person and an ideal choice for students. Quarter shares cost $175. Full shares are $475 and will feed four people, and half shares are $300 and will feed two people.

Shareholders can pick up produce each week at the university’s Rogers Farm. The guild’s season runs from mid-June through early October.

A limited number of shares are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Those interested in purchasing a share for the 2014 season should email the Black Bear Food Guild at blackbearcsa@gmail.com.

Since 1994, students have farmed two acres of MOFGA-certified organic vegetables and cut flowers on Rogers Farm. The farmers for the 2014 Black Bear Food Guild are Laura Goldshein, Lindy Morgan and Abby Buckland.


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UMaine News
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
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