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Sea Grant Research Awards Announced

Contact: Catherine Schmitt at (207) 581-1434

ORONO — Maine Sea Grant has identified recipients of 2010-2012 research funding awards from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Sea Grant Office. Over $500,000 will support five research projects in the natural and social sciences.

Maine Sea Grant is a state-federal partnership based at the University of Maine, sponsored by NOAA and the State of Maine.  It is part of a national network supporting marine and coastal research and education.

The five programs funded by NOAA will foster knowledge of issues critical to Maine’s natural environment.  University of Maine researchers, from its Dept. of Earth Sciences and from its School of Marine Sciences, are involved in four of the five funded initiatives.

• Daniel Belknap and Joseph Kelley of the University of Maine and Cindy Loftin of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit received $156,945 for a project titled “The critical leading edge of Gulf of Maine salt marshes.” Establishing the nature and rates of change in salt marshes through this work, especially where they overlap with upland environments, will help coastal managers and land owners evaluate risks of sea-level rise to property and infrastructure, and also inform planning and land conservation efforts.

• Yong Chen of the University of Maine and Carl Wilson of the Maine Department of Marine Resources received $127,890 to work on “A comparative study of monitoring programs for coherence in quantifying the dynamics of American lobster fisheries in Maine.” Chen and Wilson will compare and evaluate the nine different lobster assessment methods currently in place, with a goal of improving monitoring program design for greater efficiency and reduced costs.

• Stephen Coghlan of the University of Maine and Joe Zydlewski of the USGS Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit were awarded $105,224 for their study, “Restoration of anadromous fishes: the effects of dam removal and habitat conditioning in spawning streams.” This project will provide much-needed empirical data about how systems respond to dam removal at the species, community, and ecosystem levels. Coghlan and Zydlewski are focusing on sea lamprey and habitat in Sedgeunkedunk Stream, a tributary of the Penobscot River.

• Teresa Johnson of the University of Maine received $129,336 to assess vulnerability and resilience in Maine fishing communities. This project will develop a participatory, place-based approach for documenting threats to fishing communities and resources available to respond to those threats.

• Robert Snyder of the Island Institute was awarded $37,000 to study “Participatory mapping for marine resource management and community development.” Using Penobscot Bay as a case study, Snyder will engage communities to reconcile biophysical data and locations of human activities to inform marine spatial planning initiatives, such as developing marine reserves and siting wind power facilities.

For more information about these projects and other research funded by Maine Sea Grant, and to learn about funding opportunities, please visit

The Maine Sea Grant College Program was founded at the University of Maine in 1980.

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