Learning more about the invasive European green crab and its effects on Maine’s coastal and marine resources will be the focus of a Dec. 16 conference at the University of Maine.
Maine Sea Grant, Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), Maine Coastal Program and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will hold the Maine Green Crab Summit from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Wells Conference Center on the Orono campus.
The public is welcome to attend the free event that aims to offer an opportunity for researchers, fishermen and coastal community members to share information about green crabs, as well as discuss different approaches for green crab control, future management and research.
“Although these invaders have been here for decades, in recent years they have proliferated to a level that is causing severe impacts on the clam fishery and is having other impacts on coastal ecosystems,” says Paul Anderson, Maine Sea Grant director and marine extension program leader.
During the conference, DMR officials plan to release data from a coast-wide survey the organization conducted in August to gain a better understanding of how severe the European green crab invasion in Maine is.
Researchers from UMaine, DMR, University of Maine at Machias, USGS and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Coastal Program are among those scheduled to present.
Online registration is required by Dec. 9, and limited funding is available to commercial fishermen to help with travel costs. Lunch will be provided. The summit will also be streamed live online and recorded for those unable to attend.
More information about the summit, including the event’s agenda and details for accessing the webcast, can be found on Maine Sea Grant’s website. A snow date of Dec. 18 has been set.
The Maine Sea Grant college program at UMaine is one of 33 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) programs throughout the coastal and Great Lakes states and is focused on improving Maine’s coastal communities.
Ways in which commercial fishermen, aquaculturists and those in the tourism industry can work together to create greater economic success will be the focus of three workshops offered by Maine Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension in partnership with the Lobster Institute, Island Institute and Maine Aquaculture Association.
The Fisheries, Aquaculture and Tourism workshops will take place 5–8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11 at the UMaine Hutchinson Center in Belfast; 5–8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12 at Machias Savings Bank Community Room in Machias; and 1–4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13 at University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Building in Portland.
Anyone involved in the fisheries, aquaculture or tourism industry or related support organizations is invited to attend any of the free workshops. Sessions will include information from guest speakers on topics such as the legal issues pertaining to offering boat or farm tours and ways seafood producers can enhance their businesses by building relationships with tour operators, restaurant owners and innkeepers.
“The workshops are intended to respond to the need for information expressed by fishermen and aquaculture farmers who seek to diversify their earnings by tapping into the tourism market by offering activities such as lobster boat tours or fish farm tours,” says Natalie Springuel, a marine extension associate with Maine Sea Grant. “Likewise, these workshops respond to the growing interest in the tourism industry to provide customers with fisheries and fish-farming-related experiences.”
Scott Gunst, an attorney with the admiralty and maritime law practice Reeves McEwing LLP in Philadelphia, Pa., will present at each session. Other guest speakers will vary depending on location. They will include fishermen and/or aquaculture farmers who will talk about their businesses, as well as members of the tourism industry who will share opportunities for marketing and partnerships.
The workshops will include an information session about the legal framework of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism, followed by interactive conversations with those who work in the field and a question-and-answer period with representatives of related resources, including the United States Coast Guard, insurance companies and the host organizations.
Pizza will be offered at the Belfast and Machias sessions and snacks will be provided at the Portland workshop.
This is the second time this workshop series has been offered. The first was offered at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum in Rockland in February 2013.
A registration form and more information, such as fact sheets and legal research produced for the series, are available on the Maine Sea Grant’s website. Registration is required.
The Maine Sea Grant college program at UMaine is one of 33 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) programs throughout the coastal and Great Lakes states and is focused on improving Maine’s coastal communities. The University of Maine Marine Extension Team (MET), is a collaboration of Maine Sea Grant and UMaine Extension, that provides educational and applied research programs in coastal community development, ecosystem health, fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.
The University Volunteer Ambulance Corps (UVAC) at the University of Maine was named the 2013 Region 4 EMS Service of the Year by the Atlantic Partners EMS.
The announcement was made earlier this month during the 33rd annual seminar of Atlantic Partners EMS, an organization that consists of providers in three of the state’s six EMS regions.
The seminar honors members of the emergency medical services community in Region 3, Kennebec Valley EMS; Region 4, Northeastern Maine EMS; and Region 6, Mid-Coast Maine EMS. This year, the organization focused its awards on EMS agencies that have a strong commitment to community and improving the statewide EMS system.
UVAC is one of 79 state-licensed EMS providers in Region 4, which includes emergency service providers in Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Washington counties. This is the first time the UMaine group has won this award.
The group was recognized for its members’ dedication to serve others, the more than 30,000 volunteer hours it provides annually, and for establishing a comprehensive CPR program on campus, which included the placement of more than 20 automated external defibrillators (AED) and relevant training for staff and students.
”This is a wonderful award to receive,” says Joseph Kellner, UVAC chief of service. “It showcases the dedication and drive the large group of student-volunteers have for selfless service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It shows that despite the relatively new exposure to the field of EMS, our student-volunteers show professionalism, compassion and skill that is on par with our long-term professional colleagues. I am very proud to be a part of this organization.”
UVAC is a volunteer-based service that operates as part of UMaine’s Auxiliary Services and delivers emergency medical services on campus and to surrounding communities. The group is composed of 62 UMaine students, in addition to a dozen staff and neighboring EMS providers. More than 60 percent of the members are EMTs, while others serve as drivers and assistants.
The students in UVAC come from a variety of majors from all of UMaine’s academic colleges. Previous medical training is not required to join the organization and online applications are accepted anytime.
The six regional EMS offices are independent, not-for-profit corporations that operate under a contract for services with the Board of EMS. The Board of EMS is part of the Maine EMS system which is a bureau within the Department of Public Safety, according to the state of Maine’s government website.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
People in the giving spirit at the University of Maine have been making the holidays brighter for others.
The UMaine Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism, Greek Life, athletic groups and student organizations have all spearheaded charitable efforts this season.
The Bodwell Center has been a driving force for the Holiday Sharing Program and FIGI Christmas since 2004. In collaboration with Greek Life, the center collects holiday gifts for Crossroads Ministries, where families from the greater Old Town and Orono areas select presents for their children from among the donated gifts.
People may donate gifts through Dec. 6 at the Bodwell Center on campus or to Crossroads Ministries in Old Town.
Bodwell Center volunteers also participated in an American Red Cross blood drive and the fourth annual GobbleFest. At the Nov. 13–14 blood drive at the New Balance Student Recreation Center, donors gave 174 units of blood and about a dozen double red cell donations. The American Red Cross and UMaine Office of Student Life sponsored the drive.
GobbleFest was a combined effort of the Bodwell Center and Old Town-Orono YMCA. Nov. 17 at the YMCA, UMaine students collected turkeys and cash donations so Crossroads Ministries could provide Thanksgiving dinners for families in need. The Bodwell Center continued to collect turkeys and cash donations through Nov. 22.
Crossroad Ministries also will benefit from a food drive sponsored by UMaine Printing and Mailing Services. Campus mail carriers are accepting nonperishable food donations as part of the drive, and drop boxes are located in Keyo Building. The food donations will be accepted through Dec. 16.
Male Athletes Against Violence and HerCampus sponsored a Cans For Those Who Can’t event Nov. 23. That night, people who donated canned goods for Strong Mind-Strong Body Inc.’s Thanksgiving food drive were admitted free to the Bear Brew Pub in Orono.
The University of Maine Sports Medicine Team and the University of Maine Student-Athlete Advisory Committee collected nonperishable food at UMaine football, women’s basketball and men’s ice hockey games. The donated canned goods were given to The Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord Food Pantry, which serves those in need in the greater Bangor, Orono and Old Town communities. Donations continued to be accepted through Nov. 22 at the Mike Kessock Sports Medicine Center in Memorial Gym.
Kappa Sigma sold donated coats for $5 each at its second annual Coats for the Cold on Nov. 15–16. HerCampus UMaine, an online publication, held a bake sale in conjunction with the coat sale. All the combined proceeds went to Fisher House Foundation, which has homes near military and VA medical centers. When servicemen and women are hospitalized due to combat injuries and sickness, their loved ones can stay at the houses.
Alpha Delta held a food and clothing drive Nov. 11–22 in Memorial Union and gave all donated items to Hope House, a homeless shelter in Bangor.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
The University of Maine’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program was recently ranked as one of the best clinical psychology programs nationwide in a journal article based on a University of North Texas study.
The program was identified as performing exceptionally well in the article “Hidden gems among clinical psychology training programs” describing a recently published study in the American Psychological Association (APA) journal Training and Education in Professional Psychology.
The purpose of the study was to use public data sources to identify programs that excel at graduate training in professional psychology as evidenced by two emerging professional benchmarks — internship matching rate and Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) pass rate.
UMaine’s program was ranked ninth out of 233 accredited clinical psychology doctoral programs in the category that combined both benchmarks.
The aim of the study was to identify programs that provide exceptional training by determining which programs are doing better than would be predicted based on the incoming characteristics of the students who are typically admitted. Those characteristics include the average Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of the programs’ incoming students.
UMaine’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program prepares students for a doctorate in psychology and for careers that combine research and practice.
Since 1990, the clinical program has graduated 85 Ph.D. students. Twenty-one of those graduates now have careers in Maine and “have had clear impacts on the state’s mental health policies and direct care provision,” according to Douglas Nangle, a professor and director of the clinical training program at UMaine.
As just a few examples, program alumni have brought state-of-the art neuropsychological services to the Bangor area and innovative behavioral health consultation services for patients treated at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. They have also affected the way juveniles are treated in the state corrections system and helped bring evidence-based treatments to sexual offenders across the state.
The president-elect of the Maine Psychological Association is also a graduate of the program and has consulted on related issues for the legislature.
There are currently 22 students in the program.
The journal article was published Oct. 14, 2013 and was written by Jennifer L. Callahan, an associate professor and a director of clinical training at the University of North Texas; Camilo J. Ruggero, an assistant professor at the University of North Texas; and Mike C. Parent, a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology at the University of Florida.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3777
Understanding how forests function as complex adaptive systems and predicting the future characteristics of Maine’s woods are goals of a project by a team of University of Maine researchers.
The study also aims to improve an open-source forest ecosystem model to help make project insights more transferable to research in other forests.
Erin Simons-Legaard, a post-doctoral research scientist in the UMaine School of Forest Resources, is principal investigator of the project titled “When natural disturbance meets land-use change: An analysis of disturbance interactions and ecosystem resilience in the Northern Forest of New England.”
“We can’t control everything, but it’s important to understand the processes that are controlling what type of forest grows after it’s cut down and identify the underlying interactions between the human decision-making process and ecological dynamics,” Simons-Legaard says. “Once we identify where the interactions are the strongest, we know what pathways we can use if we want to change what our future forests will look like.”
Working with Simons-Legaard on the project are Jessica Leahy, an associate professor of human dimensions of natural resources at UMaine; Kasey Legaard, an associate scientist in the School of Forest Resources; Aaron Weiskittel, an associate professor of forest biometrics and modeling and Irving Chair of Forest Ecosystem Management at UMaine; and Emily Silver, a Ph.D. student in the School of Forest Resources.
The two-year project, which began in July 2013, was awarded a $235,494 National Science Foundation grant.
The relationship between the biophysical and social subsystems is an important factor in understanding how forest ecosystems work as complex systems.
“No two acres of forest are exactly the same unless you plant it — if even then — and that’s because forests are complex,” Simons-Legaard says.
The researchers are creating future projections of the northern half of Maine — about 10 millions acres — by focusing on the interactions between man-made disturbances such as harvesting and development, and natural disturbances such as wind and pests.
Periodically Maine’s northern forests will have an infestation of the eastern spruce budworm — a pest that targets balsam fir and spruce trees, two common and economically important tree species in Maine. During the last outbreak, a lot of spruce-fir forest became infested and was then salvaged. In many areas, fir and spruce were replaced by shade-intolerant northern hardwoods that can establish and grow faster than the softwood trees in open areas. This replacement can occur when spruce-fir forest is harvested before the understory completely develops.
“Researchers are trying to understand what drives that shift from softwood to hardwood and what it might mean for natural resources like wood supply and wildlife habitat,” Simons-Legaard says. “Maine’s northern forest has traditionally been spruce-fir dominated, and a big shift toward hardwood in a historical context would be unprecedented.”
For several years, Simons-Legaard and her husband Kasey Legaard had focused on the state’s two main disturbance agents — harvesting and spruce budworm. Since their research began, the pair noticed more discussion about development and what role it could potentially play in northern Maine.
The researchers decided to include land-use change as a disturbance to take a more comprehensive approach to understanding how forests work.
“Taking this approach means recognizing you have the natural system with its components — trees, soil communities of microbes and bacteria, wildlife community — and they are all interacting. Then you have people interacting in their social system and making decisions. In a forest, the natural system and the human system interact,” Simons-Legaard says.
Learning more about these interactions and how they might be influenced by different disturbances is at the core of the team’s research.
“For the social side the focus is on what influences a landowner’s decision to stop producing timber and develop. That’s what Jessica Leahy and graduate student researcher Emily Silver are focused on; the decision-making process of the landowners,” she says.
To make their results more transferable to other timber-producing forests, the team used an already-established software program instead of creating a project-specific program. The group is using LANDIS-II, a cell-based forest ecosystem model which has an active community of users and developers. Any improvements the researchers make to the software can quickly be distributed to all of its users.
Using a map of initial forest conditions and text files describing the life history characteristics of the area’s tree species, the program creates future projections of the forest by growing trees, dispersing seed, establishing new cohorts of trees and accounting for natural mortality. The program also has extensions that allow the researchers to add disturbances, such as harvesting.
For two years the team has been preparing the input files. The map of the area’s initial conditions of tree species and forest age was created using satellite imagery and U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) plot data.
Text files created for the 13 most abundant tree species in Maine describe how species’ growth and mortality is influenced by environmental conditions. The files help the program model species establishment and competition after a disturbance.
“These text files have to describe in numerical terms what tree-species competition looks like and how species rank in terms of competitive ability,” Simons-Legaard says.
Once the files are complete, the information is entered into LANDIS-II, along with the disturbance extensions, to determine what Maine’s forests will look like in the future.
“There’s also a regional focus because we’re trying to understand Maine’s forests better; both the natural components, how they interact, how tree-species competition determines whether a forest comes out as softwood or hardwood, and how Maine’s landowners make their decisions,” Simons-Legaard says.
As spruce budworm begins to make its return and land-use change becomes more frequent, asking the preemptive “what if?” questions are important in determining where Maine’s forests are headed in the next 50 or 100 years, she says.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
Dr. David Bronson, University of Maine graduate and president of Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospital, will deliver the 2013 Distinguished Honors Graduate Lecture titled “Healthcare Reform and the Bumpy Road to Universal Access” on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at Buchanan Alumni House on campus.
Bronson, who also practices internal medicine on the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic, graduated in 1969 from UMaine. A reception in his honor begins at 3:30 p.m. in Andrews Leadership Hall, and his lecture starts at 4 p.m. in the McIntire Room.
In 2002, the Distinguished Honors Graduate Lecture series was established to show appreciation to UMaine Honors graduates and to recognize their accomplishments, vision and connection with UMaine.
François Amar, dean of the Honors College, said the UMaine community is excited to welcome back the distinguished alumnus. Bronson’s leadership in creating systems for patient-centered medical care make him uniquely qualified to speak on current trends in healthcare reform, Amar said.
Bronson has received numerous honors and teaching awards and for more than 20 years Cleveland magazine cited him as a “Best Doctor.” In 2011, the immediate past president of the American College of Physicians was honored as a “Living Legend” and “Cleveland Father of the Year” by the Center for Families and Children. Bronson also serves on the board of the Cleveland Play House, America’s oldest regional professional theater.
He is married to Kathleen Franco, who is board-certified in psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine and is associate dean of admissions and student affairs at Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. They have six children.
The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact the Honors College at 207.581.3263 or email@example.com.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
A $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation will allow a multidisciplinary team of researchers to examine the impact of rising ocean temperatures on the ecology and economics of the Gulf of Maine.
Led by Andrew Pershing from the University of Maine and Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), the team will conduct a four-year project as part of the NSF’s Coastal SEES (Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability) Initiative to support collaborative studies.
“Climate change is impacting the distribution of fish and lobsters in the Gulf of Maine,” Pershing says, “and these ecological changes can have significant economic consequences.”
For instance, record warm ocean temperatures during 2012 prompted lobsters in the Gulf of Maine to migrate shoreward about a month early, making them easier to catch. Lobstermen proceeded to haul in record numbers of the crustaceans, but the overabundance of product on the market tanked the price paid to lobstermen.
“There’s a growing realization among scientists that complex problems like climate change and fisheries require us to work with people from other fields,” says Katherine Mills a co-investigator on this study from UMaine and GMRI.
The team includes climate scientists, oceanographers, fishery scientists and economists from UMaine, GMRI, Stony Brook University, NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) and NOAA’s National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
“The Gulf of Maine is an ideal test site to examine relationships between climate change, oceanography, ecology and economics,” Pershing says. In addition to its economically valuable lobster and groundfish fisheries, the Gulf has strong temperature gradients and has been warming rapidly in recent years.
“Rising temperatures impact spatial and seasonal distributions of many fish and invertebrates,” says Janet Nye, an assistant professor at Stony Brook University. Shifts in the distribution and abundance of species drive changes to their interactions with each other, as well as changes to where, when and how many are caught.
As part of its multidisciplinary approach, the project has a dedicated education component through GMRI’s LabVenture! Program that annually reaches 10,000 Maine fifth- and sixth-grade students. The researchers will work with GMRI’s education specialists to develop a hands-on experience that enables students to explore how computer models help scientists understand complex interactions among species and the environment.
In addition to Pershing, Mills and Nye, the team includes Andrew Thomas, Richard Wahle and Yong Chen from the University of Maine; Jenny Sun, Tom Farmer and Frank Chiang from GMRI; Dan Holland from NWFSC; and Mike Alexander from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Opposition to same-sex marriage is greater on Election Day than indicated in pre-election polls, according to new research by a University of Maine political scientist. That’s because people being surveyed tend to say they’ll vote the way they think is socially desirable, regardless of their real position on the issue.
Richard Powell, UMaine associate professor of political science, said polling systematically minimizes resistance to same-sex marriage; opposition to it at the ballot box on Election Day is about 5 percent to 7 percent greater than in pre-election polls.
The 2009 vote in Maine is indicative of this pattern, Powell says. In that year’s final pre-election poll, 40 percent of Maine voters indicated they would vote in favor of Question 1 to restrict marriages to opposite-sex couples. Election Day, Question 1 passed with 53 percent of the vote.
Powell examined the accuracy of polling on same-sex marriage ballot measures relative to polling on other statewide ballot issues in 33 states from 1998 to 2012.
He said social desirability bias on ballot measures such as same-sex marriage is more prevalent in states with larger populations of Republican and highly religious voters.
While social desirability bias has largely disappeared on issues of race and gender, Powell says it likely continues to impact polling on same-sex marriage because societal attitudes with regard to homosexual rights lags behind that of attitudes about race and gender.
Based on prior research, Powell says as a greater number of people accept same-sex marriage, there will be fewer potential polling respondents available to give misleading responses.
“This is a question that will be fascinating to study over time to see if it, indeed, turns out to be the case,” he writes in “Social Desirability Bias in Polling on Same-Sex Marriage Ballot Measures” published in American Politics Research.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
University of Maine marine scientist Rhian Waller has been named a Fellow in an elite international group of adventurers who encourage scientific discovery while exploring land, sea and space.
Founded in 1904, Explorers Club members attempt to attain new heights and depths; they’ve been the first to reach the moon, North Pole, South Pole, the Mount Everest summit and the deepest part of the ocean.
Waller, an associate research professor in UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences, fits right in. In 2013, National Geographic Magazine celebrated her as a 21st-century risk taker who presses the limits in this “New Age of Exploration.”
Based at the Darling Marine Center (DMC) in Walpole, Maine, Waller has pushed the limits of diving during more than 40 expeditions around the planet. In a submersible, she has plunged to a depth of 3,600 meters to examine corals on the New England Seamount chain.
“I feel extremely honored to have been voted into the Explorers Club, and really pleased to have been recognized for the scientific exploration work I’ve been doing across the globe,” Waller says.
“There are so many conservation issues surrounding the deep ocean, I hope I can use this opportunity to spread the word more widely that the deep sea is important to our whole planet, and does need our protection.”
As a Fellow, Waller has access to the Explorer’s Club research collections, including a library and map room, and she’s connected with a global network of expertise, experience, technology, industry and support. The Explorers Club supports exploratory expeditions and provides opportunities for the 3,000 members worldwide to carry an Explorers Club flag on voyages that further the cause of exploration and field science. Since 1918, flags have flown at both the North and South poles and aboard Apollo 11.
The seven founders of the Explorers Club were two polar explorers, a curator of birds and mammals at The American Museum of Natural History, an archaeologist, a war correspondent/writer, a professor of physics and an ethnologist. Today its members — including archaeologists, astronomers, entomologists, mountaineers, zoologists and now a new deep-sea researcher — conduct explorations and research in more than 60 countries around the globe, and beyond.
For her research, Waller routinely scuba dives in temperatures 35 F and colder. She studies how environmental factors such as climate change, fishing and oil exploration affect deep-sea coral ecology and reproduction, as well as what effect that altered life cycle could have on the rest of the marine ecosystem.
Last summer, Waller was part of a research team that discovered two deep-sea coral communities in the western Jordan Basin and Schoodic Ridge regions of the Gulf of Maine.
Last month, Waller returned from an expedition to Chile. She had traveled to Huinay Scientific Field Station near the northern Patagonian fjords to collect final samples from a yearlong deep-sea coral monitoring program. She’s examining how climate change, salmon farms, fishing and oil exploration affect deep-sea coral reproduction, and what effect any altered life cycle could have on the marine ecosystem.
In her Oct. 11 blog on that trip, Waller wrote that corals, which she calls the rainforests of the ocean, “are not just beautiful to look at … they’re also extremely important to the health of our oceans, and ultimately the health of the planet.”
Next year, Waller will utilize a $381,384 National Science Foundation grant to investigate how Antarctic corals, which provide habitat for thousands of connected species, are coping with warming ocean water.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777