Mo Correll Delivers 2013 Commencement Speech

June 7th, 2013 9:07 AM

EES Ph.D. Candidate and Graduate Student Government President Mo Correll delivered the Commencement Speech at the May 2013 Graduate Hooding Ceremony. The text of her speech is below.

Hello graduates! I am honored to be here with you all today. I speak to you as president for the graduate student government; I am also a PhD candidate in Ecology and Environmental Science, a proud member of the Olsen Lab in Deering Hall, and part of the Climate Change Institute on campus. Over the past few years I have gotten to know many of you, and see several faces in the gradating class here that are very near and dear to me. I see many more that I recognize, but wish I had gotten to know better. I see teachers, physicists, ecologists, and artists; I see professors, businesswomen, politicians, and agriculturalists. I see people who have worked alongside me, struggling to understand classwork, or grant applications, or the directions for filling out forms for the graduate school. And let me say, I am extremely jealous of all of you! For all of your varied backgrounds, today marks a life accomplishment for all of you, and you should be proud. I am continually impressed by the quality and variety of research, education, and creative accomplishments on this campus, and I can confidently say that as graduates you are already leaders, teachers, mentors, and innovators. You will represent yourselves and the University of Maine well as you move forward.

We come from a small community at the University of Maine, set in between the Maine coast and the Appalachian mountains. I hope you’ve all been able to summit Mt. Katahdin, enjoy Acadia National Park, and spend at least one day basking, swimming, or maybe even surfing on a southern Maine beach. I hope you’ve all eaten a Maine lobster, attend a woodsman competition, and incorporated at least some plaid into your wardrobe during your time here.

For all that our state boasts, I think I can speak for many of us here when I say that sometimes this place can a little feel tiny or confined. What’s a graduate student to do in Orono when they need caffeine past 7 PM? And why can’t anything in this town be named after something besides a bear? While we may all sometimes struggle within the confines of a small town in rural Maine, I think we find a clear strength in our size and geography through the incredibly inclusive academic community that we foster. While we may be small, we are mighty! We are the land-grant and flagship University of our state; the research and professionals produced here are competitive at a national and international level. However, what makes University of Maine students truly unique is the path we take in achieving that distinction; we achieve excellence through teamwork and support. Not only are we mighty; we are friendly as well. I have never felt as simultaneously challenged and encouraged as I have during my past three years in UMaine’s academic community. I have seen myself grow and thrive through the classwork and outstanding mentorship provided to me, and from the intense support I experience from my peers. I truly hope you all have found similar opportunities for such development during your time at our school. I say this often and will say it again today; I am so excited to collaborate with all of you when our paths cross in the professional world, because a degree from The University of Maine, to me, will always signify partnership and a high standard of excellence through teamwork that is so important in the competitive world today.

I wish you all luck as you take your next steps into the world. Perhaps that step is accepting your first job in your field! Or perhaps it is the next round of graduate education here, or at another institution. Or, perhaps you aren’t quite sure yet what that next step will be – don’t worry, we’ve all been there, and you’ll figure it out. As you all move forward in your different directions, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes;

“There is no path to happiness; Happiness is the path.”

I hope you all find success in the paths that you choose, and that you are able to take a little of Maine with you along the way. Good luck, class of 2013! Ill see you out there soon.

EES Faculty Member to Receive 2013 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award

April 18th, 2013 9:50 AM

Dr. Francis Drummond

Four faculty members in physics, insect ecology, finance and computer science will receive the University of Maine’s top annual awards May 11 as part of Commencement activities on campus. Entomologist Frank Drummond has been a member of the UMaine community for a quarter-century. He is a professor in the School of Biology and Ecology, and University of Maine Cooperative Extension. The breadth of his career is reflected in his research interests that range from pollination ecology to insect pest management, and scientific techniques that span statistical modeling and computer simulation to molecular genetics. His research venues range from Maine’s blueberry and potato fields to Australian sugarcane plantations. Drummond has always worked in cooperative research with other researchers at UMaine and beyond. Today, his productivity and project diversity involves 60 research colleagues. Drummond has been the principal or co-principal investigator on more than $15.7 million in research funding. That funding includes USDA grants investigating the genetics of blueberry production and pollinator conservation to address colony collapse disorder in honeybees. Since joining the UMaine community, Drummond has been leading bee research, focused on their health, conservation and role as crop pollinators. As an applied entomologist, Drummond finds solutions to important agricultural insect problems, especially in Maine. One of his many successful efforts to help farmers manage the blueberry maggot fly, an effort that saved growers money and reduced the environmental impact of insecticide applications. With several UMaine colleagues, Drummond has researched and developed organic methods for blueberry production — the only complete organic insect pest management plan for wild blueberry production in North America. Drummond also created a model to predict the impact of human activity on streams, which became the basis for Maine law and informed national Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

Abigail Sullivan selected for the 2013 Edith Patch Award

April 11th, 2013 12:15 PM

EES Masters Student Abigail Sullivan has been selected for the 2013 Edith Patch Award.  The Edith Patch Award is given each year to graduate and undergraduate women in acknowledgement of distinguished work they have done while at the University of Maine, and in recognition of their promise for future contribution to the fields of science, agriculture, engineering, or environmental education.  The awardees receive a small honorarium, and are invited to deliver a brief presentation about their work at the Annual Earth Day Reception in honor of Dr. Edith Marion Patch.  This year’s reception will be held on Sunday, April 21, 2013 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Thomas Lynch University Club, on the second floor of Fogler Library.

Graduate Student Awards Presented in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture

March 29th, 2013 9:32 AM

EES M.S. candidate Matthew Jones, School of Biology and Ecology has been awarded the Norris Charles Clements Graduate Student Award by the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture. Congratulations Matthew! He was one of seven graduate students recognized by the College.

 For the full list of awards, click here:


BDN Publishes Op-Ed on Biofuels by UMaine Professors

March 15th, 2013 2:06 PM

The Bangor Daily News published an op-ed titled “Biofuels development in Maine: Using trees to oil the wheels of sustainability.” The article, which is part of a longer piece that appeared in “Maine Policy Review,” published by the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, was written by EES Faculty members Caroline L. Noblet, Mario F. Teisl, and Jonathan Rubin, along with Katherine H. Farrow, a recent graduate of the master of science program in natural resource economics. Noblet is a lecturer in UMaine’s School of Economics; Teisl is a professor in the School of Economics ; and Rubin is a professor with a joint appointment in the School of Economics and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.

Alyokhin Named to State Pest Control Council

February 27th, 2013 1:03 PM

Andrei Alyokhin, associate professor and graduate coordinator, University of Maine School of Biology and Ecology (and EES faculty), will be sworn as the member of the Governor’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Council March 26 in the Deering Building, Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources in Augusta. The IPM Council was established by the Maine Legislature to promote, expand and enhance integrated pest management within the state with the goal of having a less environmentally damaging and more economically sustainable approaches to preventing pest damage. The council serves both advisory and coordination roles in the effort. Alyokhin’s research interests include potatoes and insect pest management.

UMaine Researchers Find Wood Frogs May Transport Mercury into Food Web

February 11th, 2013 1:06 PM

Juvenile wood frogs emigrating from their birthplaces in vernal pools into the terrestrial ecosystem may transfer mercury they accumulated during larval development into the food web, according to a team of University of Maine researchers.

The team, led by U.S. Geological Survey and UMaine wildlife ecologist (and EES faculty member) Cynthia Loftin, conducted its study at four short-hydroperiod (likely to dry by mid-June) seasonal woodland pools in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine.

The researchers found mercury levels in the 1- to 2-week-old embryos were near or below detectable amounts, indicating that transfer of mercury from mother to eggs was absent or minimal. However, mercury accumulated rapidly in the 6- to 8-week-old tadpoles.

Mercury, a heavy, toxic metal, occurs naturally and is introduced into the environment by metal processing, coal burning and mining. People are exposed to mercury by eating contaminated fish and wildlife. Over time, low-grade mercury exposure in people can impact cognitive thinking and fine motor skills.

While concentrations of total mercury differed among the pools and were greatest in the unburned softwood-dominated setting, the levels increased in all pools throughout the season. The pools dried in June and refilled with September and October rain.

Wood frogs can travel some distance from their natal pools. During summer, fall and winter, they live in wetlands and on land. In the winter, they hibernate underneath leaf litter, woody debris and soil. They return to pools in the spring to mate.

For a better understanding of the transport of this contaminant from seasonal pools into the surrounding environment and potential for uptake into the terrestrial food web, future studies should focus on the ratio of total mercury to methylmercury (produced by burning of fossil fuels) in embryos, tadpoles and juvenile frogs leaving natal ponds, according to the research team, writing in the journal Northeastern Naturalist.

Loftin teamed with Aram Calhoun, professor of wetland ecology and (EES Director); Sarah Nelson, assistant research professor at the Senator George J. Mitchell Center; Adria Elskus, associate professor of biological sciences (and EES faculty); and Kevin Simon, assistant professor in the School of Biology and Ecology, to conduct the study.

Coverage of Mitchell Keynote at International Conference

July 20th, 2012 9:21 AM

Several media outlets, including the Bangor Daily News covered a keynote address given Thursday by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell at the BIOGEOMON conference in Northport, Maine. The conference was co-hosted by UMaine. Mitchell told hundreds of international scientists, students and researchers that precise data can help solve problems such as streams, lakes and soils tainted by pollution. Mitchell also noted that projects such as UMaine’s long-term research at the Bear Brook Watershed are critical to policy development. Bangor TV stations WABI and WVII both interviewed UMaine soil scientist and EES Faculty Member Ivan Fernandez, who was one of the organizers of the conference.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777


Handling the Effects of Abrupt Climate Change

July 19th, 2012 10:45 AM

UMaine Gets $3 Million NSF IGERT Award For An Adaptation To Abrupt Climate Change Program

The need to adapt environmental policies and management strategies to meet the social and ecological challenges caused by abrupt climate change events around the world is the focus of a new graduate program at the University of Maine beginning this fall, funded by a five-year, $3 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

EES Faculty member and UMaine’s Climate Change Institute Associate Professor of Biology Jasmine Saros will be the principle investigator on the project.

For the full article:

UMaine Economist Part of National Energy Project

July 19th, 2012 10:42 AM

EES Faculty member and UMaine Economist Jonathan Rubin was part of a team of researchers that found the fuels of the future will be cleaner, cheaper and more “made in America” if the United States adopts a national Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).

For more information, visit: