The Associated Press spoke with Rick Wahle, a University of Maine research professor at the Darling Marine Center, and cited UMaine research for a report about the steady decline in the number of baby lobsters settling off the coast of Maine and how the decrease could put an end to recent record catches. The article cited a UMaine survey of 11 Gulf of Maine locations that found young lobsters have declined by more than half of their 2007 levels. UMaine divers have been tracking the settlement rates of Maine lobsters since the late 1980s, according to the article. Wahle said the lobsters could be thinning out for many reasons, including rising ocean temperature. He added the lobster decline is “telling a story of gradually — and more recently rapidly — declining settlement in the Gulf of Maine on a widespread basis,” which is raising concern. ABC News, Yahoo News, NBC News, Portland Press Herald, Morning Sentinel and WABI (Channel 5) carried the AP report.
Archive for the ‘Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture’ Category
The University of Maine Darling Marine Center is offering a Natural Science Illustration Workshop from July 28 through Aug. 1 in Walpole.
David Wheeler of the Pratt Institute’s Center Extension Campus at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute will lead the workshop, which focuses on using pencils, pens, paints and computers to capture the natural world on paper. No prior art training is required. Wheeler has created life-sized dinosaur models for the American Museum of Natural History in New York and Osaka Museum of Natural History in Japan. His artwork is in permanent collections of museums, universities and marine centers.
Cost of the workshop is $370. Lodging and food are available at DMC for an additional fee. More information, including how to register by June 1, is online.
Mary Ellen Camire, professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine, was quoted in the CTW Features article “Avoid the snack traps.” Camire said to get the most nutritional benefits from snacks, people should look at their eating habits and decide what types of foods are lacking and make up for them with snacks. She gives the example of snacking on yogurt in the morning and string cheese in the afternoon if dairy intake is a concern. She also suggested keeping snacks at 200 calories or less. Philly.com and Quad Cities Online carried the report.
Research and outreach efforts being done at the University of Maine to learn more about the devastating effects of the emerald ash borer were mentioned in a Morning Sentinel article about how the Asian beetles are threatening the livelihood of Maine’s American Indian basket makers by destroying ash trees, which are needed to create the traditional baskets. The basket makers are part of an anti-borer coalition that includes university researchers, entomologists and forestry officials. For the last several years, the faculty at UMaine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center and Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative have hosted an annual symposium about the invasive pests. Last year, the event drew 65 people from a variety of state and federal agencies, entomologists and Wabanakis. The article also stated UMaine researchers have begun mapping existing ash and collecting and preserving ash seeds that could be replanted after a potential wave of devastation.
Research being conducted at the University of Maine was cited in the Maine Public Broadcasting Network report “Maine bracing for another spruce budworm outbreak.” The spruce budworm, one of the most damaging native insects of spruce and fir trees, is currently attacking trees in Quebec, and Maine forestry officials fear the insect could start destroying state forests in the next two to four years. The last outbreak in Maine began around 1970 and ended in 1985, killing more than 20 percent of the state’s fir trees, according to the Maine Forest Products Council. Patrick Strauch of the Maine Forest Products Council, told MPBN this time landowners hope to stay ahead of the bug and do targeted, presalvage cutting. Researchers at the University of Maine are helping with the preventative effort by conducting modeling to help landowners plan ahead.
A 2013 study by University of Maine economist Todd Gabe was cited in the Mainebiz article, “Farm Credit East merger seen as beneficial to Maine farmers, loggers, commercial fishermen.” According to Gabe’s study, the forest industry in Maine has a total economic impact of $8 billion and direct employment of 17,075 workers.
Cathy Billings of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute will offer a book signing for her first volume, The Maine Lobster Industry: A History of Culture, Conservation and Commerce, 11 a.m.–noon, May 1, at the Martin Luther King Plaza outside the Memorial Union. In case of rain, the event will be moved to Rogers Hall, second floor conference room. The book, published by The History Press, reveals the hardworking history beyond the trap. Since the first recorded lobster catch in 1605, the Maine lobster fishery has grown into a multibillion dollar force. Billings’ book embarks on a journey from trap to plate, introducing readers to lobstermen, boat builders, bait dealers, marine suppliers and the expansive industry that revolves around the fishery. Strides in sustainability have been a hallmark of the Maine fishery throughout the centuries, from the time lobstermen themselves introduced conservation measures in the mid-1800s. Today, Maine’s lobster fishery is a model of a co-managed, sustainable fishery and the people who work Maine’s lobster fishery have developed a coastal economy with an international influence and deep history.
The Scotsman reported on the recently published findings of a biodiversity research project led by the University of St. Andrews in collaboration with researchers from around the world, including Brian McGill, an associate professor of ecological modeling at the University of Maine. The researchers found that despite fears of a global biodiversity crisis, there has been no consistent drop in the number of species seen locally around the world. The research into 100 communities and a total of 35,000 species found that while there were major changes in species found in any one place, the total number of plants and animals did not significantly change. The findings were published in the journal Science.
WLBZ (Channel 2) spoke with Robert Rice, a professor of wood science and technology at the University of Maine, for a report on the scrutiny surrounding a proposed $25 million Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) loan that would support Cate Street Capital’s Thermogen Project that aims to build a pellet mill in Millinocket that uses new, steam-based technology. Rice, a consultant to FAME on the project, says the new method is a radical change, but is an improvement in technology. He warned Thermogen will need about three times as much biomass to make pellets using steam, which has to be taken into account.
The project, which was led by the University of St. Andrews in collaboration with researchers from around the world — including the University of Maine’s Brian McGill — found that despite fears of a global biodiversity crisis, there has been no consistent drop in the number of species found locally around the world.
The research into 100 communities and a total of 35,000 species — from trees to starfish — found that while there were major changes in species found in any one place, the total number of plants and animals did not significantly change, according to the release.
The researchers, who were surprised by the findings, say the study should not detract from the threat many of the world’s species are under, but that policymakers should focus on changes in biodiversity composition, as well as loss, the release states.
“Conservation scientists will need to shift from just talking about how many species are found in a place to talking about which species are found in a place,” said McGill, an associate professor of ecological modeling. “Put simply, species composition changed more often than species number, and these kinds of changes should be a focus for future study.”
The full news release is online.