Archive for the ‘At a Glance’ Category

Study to Focus on What the Public Wants in Outdoor Recreation

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Sandra De Urioste-Stone, assistant professor of nature-based tourism, and John Daigle, associate professor of forest recreation management, have received a $34,499 grant from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry for the study: “How Well Are We Serving the Outdoor Recreation Public?” The purpose of this study is to investigate perspectives on outdoor recreation preferences and priorities, and perceptions on tourism development to help the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and other outdoor recreation managers to better understand current demand and improve decision-making. An online survey will be used to test conventional wisdom and open up new thinking regarding what the public wants and how they can best be served. In addition, study participants will be asked questions about their attitudes and beliefs about developing sustainable tourism in their communities. Data collected will be used to develop the 2015–20 Maine State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). The plan requires that an analysis of outdoor recreation demand, supply, trends, and ultimately priorities be documented.

Research Objectives:

  • Generate new baseline data to inform the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands about what the recreation preferences and needs are for people who live in or visit Maine including basic background demographic data.
  • Identify the factors that influence outdoor recreation participation behavior, including identification of needs, opportunities, and constraints associated with outdoor recreation in Maine.
  • Determine how Maine State Parks are used and what can be done to improve the experiences and services they provide.
  • Determine the differences between perceptions from people who participate in outdoor recreation activities in Maine and a general population of Maine residents.
  • Measure Maine residents’ attitudes toward sustainable tourism and development.

The survey population for this study seeks to entice responses from both the general residents of Maine as well as nonresidents who have recreated in Maine and have paid some type of recreation fee for fishing, hunting, camping reservations, etc.

While the data collected on recreational preferences and behaviors will benefit the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, the questions related to sustainable tourism will have new scientific significance. Questions on sustainable tourism will utilize an attempt to revalidate the Sustainable Tourism Attitude Scale, a published psychometric instrument that has not yet been implemented on a statewide scale.

Industry Collaboration

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

The University of Maine and the Maine Potato Board announced the creation of two new potato varieties — the Easton and the Sebec — that were developed over the past several growing seasons. The varieties are targeted at the french fry and potato chip industries.

“The University of Maine has the research and development capability and commitment for developing new potato varieties, from the lab to the field, which takes years. They understand what the growers and the industry are looking for and need. We, in turn, as a board, have the capacity to promote the varieties and maintain the quality of seed certification required for the integrity of the variety and the market. We are already fielding questions from growers around the country, as well as in Maine. Both of these new potato varieties are very promising. This type of result is what makes this partnership truly advantageous for the future of our industry.”
— Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board

Reaching Across the State to Support Maine’s Agriculture Sector

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

With facilities in Orono, experiment stations throughout the state and University of Maine Cooperative Extension staff in every county, the University of Maine is uniquely positioned to support and expand Maine’s agricultural opportunities. Perhaps one of the strongest examples is the development and expansion of Maine’s wild blueberry sector. Blueberry Hill Farm in Jonesboro is the only university-based wild blueberry research facility in the nation. Research and development at the farm, together with on-campus research on new blueberry products and health benefits, have been a driving factor in the recent expansion of Maine’s wild blueberry industry. The majority of this effort is performed with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Similar activity supports the Maine potato sector, as well as other crops produced in the state.

“Thanks to comprehensive crop production research and development based at the University of Maine, Maine’s Wild Blueberry growers are leaders in the development and adaptation of knowledge-based cropping systems. Maine is the largest producer of Wild Blueberries in the world. Our five-year average is now over 85 million pounds.”
— Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine

Phage Genetics Course for Honors Students

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Phage Genomics is a two-semester course offered to 16 UMaine first-year biology, microbiology, biochemistry or molecular and cellular biology majors in the Honors College each year. Students learn techniques in DNA isolation and analysis by studying novel bacteriophages, or viruses, infecting a bacterial host.

Students work alone or in pairs to culture their own phages, document the interaction between phage and host, isolate a DNA sample from the phage and sequence its genome. In the spring semester, they use computer-based analytical tools to explore and understand the structure of the phages. The procedures used throughout the process are nearly identical to those used for studying more complex genomes, including the human genome.

The active research component is integrated with group activities and reflective assignments that encourage students to develop interpersonal skills and thinking, strategic project development, and persistence.

The curriculum is provided through an association with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Alliance, and funded through a partnership between the Honors College and the Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences.

Western Civilization and American Liberty Program Receives Grant

Monday, March 31st, 2014

UMaine’s Western Civilization and American Liberty Program, directed by Professor of Political Theory Michael Palmer, was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Koch Foundation for the upcoming academic year. The program brings outstanding, nationally reputed speakers to UMaine to deliver a guest lecture, and to interact with faculty and students.

UMaine Animal Health Laboratory Researchers Studying Maine Moose

Friday, March 28th, 2014

The health of Maine’s moose is a top priority for researchers and students at the University of Maine’s Animal Health Laboratory. The lab’s director, Anne Lichtenwalner, was approached five years ago by a Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) moose biologist who wanted to know what was causing occasional calf deaths.

In the past two years, Lichtenwalner, an assistant professor of animal science, and her students examined 150 sets of lungs from Maine moose. Many were infected with lungworms, winter ticks and lung cysts. Lungworms, which can cause pathology, pneumonia, and may even contribute to death, were found in about 24 percent, Lichtenwalner says.

Echinococcus granulosus (EG), the intermediate stage of a tapeworm, was found in the form of lung cysts. The form of EG found in moose is unlikely to affect humans, but it can still infect dogs, making it important to inform the general public, especially hunters and dog owners, about the parasite. The lab published information about EG online and informed state veterinarians to remind clients that tapeworm medication is advised for dogs that may eat infected moose meat or viscera.

The lab is also part of a two-year tracking study assessing the health of moose in Maine and New Hampshire. The lab conducts blood work and processes tissues from the 90 radio-collared Maine moose in the study to test for diseases and parasites.

UMaine operates the Animal Health Lab with support from Cooperative Extension as a service to the state’s veterinarians, livestock producers and animal owners. The lab is used to perform diagnostic services such as necropsy, microbiology, virology and pathology.

USGS Grant will Fund Research in San Francisco Bay

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Emmanuel Boss, professor of oceanography, received a $23,445 U.S. Department of the Interior (USGS) grant for the proposal, “Suspended sediments in the San Francisco Bay: Algorithm development and validation.” The objective is to map the nearshore magnitude and distribution of suspended sediments in the Suisun/Grizzly Bay region of the San Francisco Bay — as close to the shoreline of Rush Ranch as possible. In their approach, Boss’ research team will use several remote sensing platforms — airplanes and satellites — with fine-scale spatial resolution to alleviate land adjacency effects. Employing a suite of different fine-scale platforms will increase the possibility of successful overflight imagery collection, since fine-scale remote sensors do not have advantageous return times. This approach will demonstrate the utility of using remotely sensed suspended sediments for providing input into a model for regions where continuous monitoring of turbidity may not exist or where discrete suspended sediment values are not available.

Yoon Gets Grant for Research on Depression in Women

Friday, February 28th, 2014

K. Lira Yoon, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Maine, received a $14,989 grant from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation for the second half of the first year of research on menstrual cycle modulation of the relation between cortisol and reward sensitivity in depression. Depression is more prevalent in women than men. Yoon’s project will provide a better understanding of major depressive disorder, focusing on the mechanisms that put women at a greater risk for the disorder.

Burnett, UMaine Center on Aging’s RSVP Program Awarded $91,702 Grant Continuation

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Paula Burnett, RSVP director of the University of Maine Center on Aging, was awarded a $91,702 grant continuation — year three — from the Corporation for National and Community Service. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, RSVP is “engaging persons 55 and older in volunteer service to meet critical community needs and to provide high-quality experience that will enrich the lives of volunteers.” Through her work, Burnett will collaborate with 50 agencies and organizations, allowing up to 260 volunteers to work on meeting critical community needs. In FY13, 257 volunteers served approximately 27,849 hours through the work of RSVP.

Majka Receives Grant to Provide Diabetes Education, Support Down East

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Alan Majka, associate Extension professor at the University of Maine, received a $3,500 grant from the Healthy Acadia Coalition to fund “Dining with Diabetes Down East.” Majka will work in Washington County, providing diabetes self-management support through diet-related education at several sites. The program will address basic diabetes and diet concepts, and practical skill development regarding planning and preparing meals through hands-on cooking. In Washington County diabetes prevalence is at 10.4 percent. It is estimated that 3.1 percent of Maine adults are unaware that they have diabetes.