“Maine’s Climate Future: 2015 Update,” a new report from the University of Maine, was featured in stories by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network and the Associated Press. The report highlights the effects of climate change in Maine, such as intense precipitation events, warming temperatures in the atmosphere and ocean, and rising sea levels. Ivan Fernandez, a professor in the UMaine School of Forest Resources, Climate Change Institute and School of Food and Agriculture, is one of the report’s authors. He said the next 35 years will likely bring as much change to the state’s climate as the last 100. Fernandez said those changes included about three degrees in temperature warming, two weeks longer of a growing season and a sea level rise of about six-tenths of a foot, the AP reported. Seacoast Online, WGME (Channel 13 in Portland) and WRAL-TV (in North Carolina) carried the AP article.
Archive for the ‘UMaine in the News’ Category
John Mahon, the John M. Murphy Chair of International Business Policy and Strategy at the University of Maine, and Michael Hastings, director of UMaine’s Office of Sponsored Programs, wrote an opinion piece for the Portland Press Herald. The article is titled “Public university students should get two years of free tuition.”
Dustin Sleight, an engineering student at the University of Maine, spoke with WVII (Channel 7) about a research project he is raising funds for at UMaine’s Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction (VEMI) Laboratory. Sleight and other undergraduate students have started a Kickstarter campaign to aid the purchase of a virtual reality motion platform that would be used with other VEMI equipment, such as the driving simulator that calculates reaction time. “I think engineering in general, there’s an obligation to do something good for the community, good for an individual, good for the progress of humankind,” Sleight said.
The Ellsworth American reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Eat Well Volunteers Program in Hancock County is recruiting volunteers for its second season. Participants will be trained to teach clients of food pantries and community meal sites about nutrition, food safety and preparation, and using fresh garden produce, according to the article. The hands-on volunteer training consists of six weekly sessions starting in April at the Hancock County Extension Office. The training fee is $60, and partial scholarships and payment plans are available.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release announcing the University Singer’s spring tour. Under the direction of Francis Vogt, a School of Performing Arts faculty member, the group of about 60 singers will perform several free concerts around central and northern Maine in March as part of the choir’s annual spring tour. The tour kicks off March 9 at Stearns High School in Millinocket. Other free concerts are scheduled in Presque Isle, Madawaska, South Paris and Augusta. The tour ends with two performances at Minsky Recital Hall on the UMaine campus in Orono at 7:30 p.m. March 21 and 2 p.m. March 22. Tickets for the Orono shows are $9, or free with a valid student MaineCard. Tickets are available at the Collins Center box office by calling 581.1755.
University of Maine marine scientist Bob Steneck spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network about his recent alga research. Steneck is part of an international team studying arctic algae for answers about the world’s changing oceans. The researchers say recent experiments conducted on algae growing in coral-like reefs in Alaskan waters indicate the ocean has been acidifying at a rate that corresponds with rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere since the 19th century, according to the report. “The coralline alga can tell us something about ocean acidification, it can tell us about ocean composition. We’re learning a lot about the changing ocean conditions over the last one to 200 years,” said Steneck. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and Andrei Alyokhin, a professor of applied entomology at UMaine, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for an article about how Maine insects survive, and sometimes thrive, during the winter. Experts say some pests, including ticks, black flies and browntail moth caterpillars have acclimated well to harsh winters and deep snow, which acts as an insulating blanket against the frigid air, according to the article. “This really cold weather we’ve had, it would really be nasty to overwintering insects, but unfortunately, most of them are 3 feet under, fat and happy,” Dill said. According to Alyokhin, cold winters are usually bad for insect mortality if the conditions — bare ground with prolonged cold — are right.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported on the new Follow a Researcher program offered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension with support from UMaine’s Climate Change Institute (CCI) and the Maine 4-H Foundation. The program aims to give K–12 students a glimpse into a scientist’s world by providing live expedition updates and facilitating communication between the youth and researcher. “The paper-pushing aspect is what I think gets represented. It’s what youth think science is,” said Charles Rodda, a doctoral student at CCI and the program’s first researcher. While in the field, Rodda will interact with participating classrooms and students by sharing prerecorded weekly videos and live tweeting in response to questions. “It just gives youth a sense of how this research actually looks,” said Laura Wilson, a 4-H science professional with UMaine Extension. The Maine Edge also carried a report about the program.
The University of Maine’s Fogler Library was mentioned in a Bangor Daily News “Family Ties” column about old newspapers. “Speaking of old newspapers, there is a wonderful collection on microfilm in the microforms room on the first floor of Fogler Library at the University of Maine,” the author wrote. Newspapers, vital records microfilms and U.S. Census microfilms are available for use anytime the library is open, including evenings and weekends. Newspapers on film range from the Bangor Daily News to the Piscataquis Observer to the London Times, the article states.
Sean Birkel, a research assistant professor at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute, was quoted in the Portland Press Herald article, “Ocean scientists report ‘unprecedented’ spike in sea level off Portland several years ago.” Scientists at the University of Arizona, with help from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found sea levels off Portland rose by 5 inches during 2009 and 2010 as a result of changes in ocean circulation that are tied to rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, according to the article. Birkel said he wasn’t surprised by the rise, but it’s not as alarming as it seems. “It’s definitely a significant rise during a short interval, but our research has shown a lot of variability, or ups and downs, and that 2009–10 is likely a peak,” he said. “But the overall trend is certainly that seas are rising. No one disputes that.”