First Annual Stantec Consulting Scholarship Awarded to Top Students

April 19th, 2013 2:15 PM

Five EES students were awarded the Stantec Consulting Scholarship in recognition of their scholarly achievements. Katherine Bickford, Margaret Hoyt, Audrey Maddox, Aron Nichols, and Sarah Watts were recognized at awards ceremonies in their advisors’ home departments as well as the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture Annual Awards Banquet on April 17.

The Stantec Consulting Scholarship Fund was established at the University of Maine in 2012 with a gift from Stantec Consulting. The fund provides financial assistance to meritorious full-time undergraduate student(s) at the University of Maine who are majoring in Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Wildlife Ecology, or related fields.

Paul Kelley Awarded 2013 Boyle Prize

April 19th, 2013 2:10 PM
Paul Kelly Boyle Prize

SBE and EES Faculty member Frank Drummond presents his advisee Paul Kelley with the 2013 Boyle Prize.

Paul Kelley, EES 2013 with a Concentration in Ecology, has been selected as the 2013 recipient of the John F. Boyle Prize in Ecology and Environmental Sciences. The prize is issued each year to the top graduating senior in Ecology and Environmental Sciences.

In addition to his academic achievements, Paul studied at the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation in Ecuador in Spring 2012. Paul is an EES Ambassador, frequently meeting with prospective students and their parents to discuss his experiences with the EES program and life at UMaine. He is also a member of the UMaine Track and Field team.

After graduation, Paul will be returning to Tanglewood 4H camp as a unit leader.  For the fall and beyond, Paul is pursuing a variety of opportunities, including graduate school and Green Corps.

The John F. Boyle Prize in Ecology and Environmental Sciences Fund was created in 1992 by gifts from the family of John F. Boyle and from friends and graduates of the B.S. program in Ecology and Environmental Sciences. The Fund was changed in 2006 from a scholarship to a prize to recognize the top graduating senior in Ecology and Environmental Sciences.


Audrey Maddox wins 2013 Summer Research Fellowship

April 18th, 2013 9:57 AM

Student research was displayed during the 4th annual Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase on April 16.

The event, sponsored by UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research and open to any undergraduate at the university, featured presentations from 117 students, consisting of 77 posters, 32 oral presentations or performances, and eight exhibits.

EES Senior Audrey Maddox was awarded one of six $3,000 Summer Research and Creative Academic Achievements Fellowships for her research with mentor Frank Drummond, “Abundance and Species Composition of the Pollinator Community on Squash in Northeastern Maine.”

Congratulations Audrey!

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

April 18th, 2013 9:46 AM

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.

Heavy Metal Movers

February 22nd, 2013 1:44 PM

wood frogs

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 Cynthia Loftin (and EES Faculty member), 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 (also EES faculty); and Kevin Simon, assistant professor in the School of Biology and Ecology, to conduct the study.


NSFA Graduate Students to Showcase Research

February 14th, 2013 11:45 AM

Graduate students in the University of Maine College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture will showcase their research at a free public Graduate Students Research Awards Competition from 10 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21, in Room 57 of Stodder Hall. EES Grad Students Jennifer McCabe, Binod Neupane and Matthew Jones will be among the students presenting their research. Topics being explored include mathematically predicting global oceanic carbon dioxide uptake; migrating songbird stopover habitat use in the Gulf of Maine; optimum tree-cutting standards for productivity; forest-based sustainable bioenergy development; drying cellulose nanofibrils, the effect of wild blueberries on health risk factors in rats, using dung beetles to suppress pathogens in wild blueberry crops; gentrification and vulnerability of Maine fishing communities; and processing polymer nanocomposites with cellulose nanofibrils. For information or to request disability accommodations, call 207.581.3205.

UMaine-based Maine EPSCoR “Sustainable Maine” Episodes to Air

September 26th, 2012 12:01 PM

Three new episodes in the “Sustainable Maine” series will premiere beginning on Sept. 27 and in the coming weeks on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN). The Season 2 episodes are part of a continuing partnership between Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine and MPBN. The series takes a look at Maine’s involvement in a new branch of scientific inquiry known as “sustainability science,” which combines the study of biophysical sciences with social science and economics.  Researchers from Maine EPSCoR’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI), which is based at UMaine, are working with communities and stakeholders to produce research knowledge and link it to actions that can help to sustain Maine’s changing landscape and preserve its quality of place. Maine EPSCoR and MPBN partnership formed in 2010 to produce 2 to 3 documentaries each year that focus on SSI’s research and how it is helping to develop solutions for Maine.

The new films include “Saving Our Lakes” at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 27 and at 1 p.m. on Oct. 7, “Basket Trees” at 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 and 1 p.m. on Oct. 21, and “Maine’s Vernal Pools” at 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 11 and at 1 p.m. on Oct. 28. For more information or to view these episodes on the web, visit

Contact: George Manlove, (207) 581-3756

EES Pizza Party!

September 4th, 2012 12:51 PM

All EES students are invited to a pizza party on Tuesday, September 11 from 5-6:30 p.m. at Lyle Littlefield Ornamental Gardens (near the University Credit Union.) Come meet your fellow EES students, eat pizza, and tie-dye your EES t-shirt. Please RSVP and let me know your shirt size by Monday, September 10. If you already have an EES t-shirt, please bring it with you.

 Extra points for those of you that bring your own cup and plate!

Fernandez Introduces Former Senator George Mitchell at Climate Change Conference

July 20th, 2012 9:34 AM

EES Faculty member and Professor of Soil Science introduced former Senator George Mitchell, who delivered the closing keynote address at BIOGEMON, a climate change conference hosted by UMaine in Northport which drew over 200 people from the U.S. and abroad. Fernandez and Professor Emeritus Stephen Norton were instrumental in planning the conference. For the full story, visit the Bangor Daily News article link below.

Ecologist Examining Loss of Native Bees

June 27th, 2012 9:45 AM


EES Faculty member and University of Maine professor of insect ecology Frank Drummond has received $3.3 million as part of a larger $6.6 million grant-funded regional study of native bees, which are necessary and critical players in fruit and berry crop pollination in the Northeast. For the full story, visit the UMaine News Blog.