Archive for July, 2011

Acadian Internship Participants Available for Interviews

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

The first class of participants in the new UMaine-based Acadian Internship in Regional Conservation and Stewardship program, a six-week course in landscape-scale regional conservation based in Downeast coastal Maine and New Brunswick, are currently working in the field to begin projects in areas such as sustainable agriculture, alternative energy, forest management and boundary mapping.

Nine interns, including one UMaine student, are taking part in the program. Most are working on projects in Calais, Machias, Grand Lake Stream, and Columbia Falls.

Daniel LaBranch, a UMaine senior who is majoring in zoology, is one of two interns working in Columbia Falls with the Downeast Salmon Federation on stream restoration, trail and river access, public relations, and visitor outreach. He is living in a DSF-owned cabin in the Machias area.

LaBranch and others are available for interviews during their field stays, which will last the next two weeks. To schedule an interview, contact Megan Gahl, adjunct research professor in UMaine’s School of Forest Resources, at 207-460-4948 or Gahl and UMaine Professor of Forest Policy Rob Lilieholm are the main instructors for the internship.

Other host organizations are the Washington County Council of Governments, the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, and the Open Space Institute.

The interns began the program last week with a five-day classroom session at the Schoodic Education and Research Center in Winter Harbor. The sessions included instruction from more than two dozen local, national and international experts in conservation-related issues, along with seminars and tutorials. Other guest presenters included national park staff, university researchers, and local residents.

Following their time in the field, the interns will return to SERC Aug. 15 to assemble reports and present their findings.

The other interns are Nathan Legere of Plymouth State University; Katie Graichen, an Arundel native who attends Colby College; Belize native Karena Mahung of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad & Tobago; Nathan Rutenbeck, a Brooklin resident who is a master’s degree student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the Yale Divinity School; Enock Zenda, a Zimbabwe native who is a graduate student at the University of Pretoria in South Africa; Makeddah John, who is from St. Lucia and recently earned a master’s degree from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada; Colby College student Olivia Kefauver of Yorktown Heights, N.Y.; and Cara McGuire, a University of New Hampshire student.

To contact the Downeast Salmon Federation, call Dwayne Shaw at 483-4336 or email To contact the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, call Mark Berry at 796-2100 or email For the Washington County Council of Governments, call Judy East at 454-0465 or email For information about the interns’ activities at SERC, contact Yvonne Davis at 206-664-3343 or

For more information about the internship and to read the interns’ blog, go to

Contact: Megan Gahl, 207-460-4948 or; Jessica Bloch, 207-581-3777 or

After Rough Start, Blueberry Growers Looking for Productive Yield

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Maine wild blueberry plants in Maine have endured a late, wet spring and now a lack of summer rain, but a University of Maine Cooperative Extension blueberry specialist says crops are faring well and — with adequate moisture — the state could see an above-average yield.

Crops survived the winter with little or no winter injury, but a late wet spring put plant growth about a week behind schedule. Wet and cold conditions at the beginning of pollination left some mid-coast areas with less than adequate pollination, according to David Yarborough, a Cooperative Extension blueberry specialist and UMaine professor of horticulture.

Rainfall, however, has been inadequate in both June and early July, he says.

“In Jonesboro, we received only 4.98 and 4.94 inches of rain in April and May respectively, but only got 2.38 inches in June and have only had had 0.83 inches by mid-July,” Yarborough says. “If we do get adequate moisture for the remainder of the summer, the crop in Maine could be slightly above average at 85 million pounds.”

Yarborough will be joined Wednesday, July 20 at Extension’s Blueberry Hill Farm in Jonesboro by other Extension plant and insect specialists for the 2011 Wild Blueberry Summer Field Day. Experts will spend the day discussing pest management, pollination, weed management, harvesting demonstrations and the latest methods of getting the most out of Maine’s thousands of acres of cultivated wild blueberry barrens.

Speakers will include the University of Maine’s new President Paul Ferguson and Walter Whitcomb, Maine commissioner of agriculture, among others.

Yarborough says that growers who used bees as pollinators, particularly those Downeast, did better than growers who didn’t. More than 64,000 hives entered Maine for wild blueberry crop pollination this spring, coming from the Midwest, the South and as far west as California and Texas. About 1,000 Maine hives also were used, fewer than normal because of heavy winter mortality, Yarborough reports.

Yarborough is available to discuss this year’s crop in more detail.

Contact: David Yarborough, (207) 581-2923; George Manlove, (207) 581-3756

Gabe Research Noted in The Atlantic

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Research done by UMaine economist Todd Gabe was mentioned in a post about commuting that appeared on The Atlantic website. The article, written by Richard Florida, cited Gabe’s research into the determinants of public transportation use and walking and biking in U.S. metropolitan areas.

Entomologist Thoughts on Biodiversity Noted in Science Websites

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Comments from UMaine entomologist Andrei Alyokhin about nonnative species and biodiversity were posted on the website Nature, and also included in a story on the same topic posted on the website of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Nursing Prof. Sossong wins statewide award

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Prof. Ann Sossong from the UMaine School of Nursing has received the Maine Organization of Nurse Executives’ Nurse Leadership and Achievement Award. It was presented at the Maine Hospital Association annual luncheon on Thursday, June 23. “The School of Nursing faculty, students, and graduates reap benefits from Ann’s leadership in state initiatives to strengthen the preparation of nurses now and in the future,” wrote Prof. Nancy Fishwick, the school’s director, in announcing the honor to her faculty colleagues and others.

Newspaper Cites Lobster Institute Study

Friday, July 1st, 2011

In a story about eating lobster, the Toronto Star cited a 1998 study by the UMaine-Lobster Institute that determined the taste of the claw meat of a lobster is not affected by rubber bands frequently used on lobster claws. According to the study, in which 20 judges tasted the claw meat of lobsters cooked with natural rubber bands, synthetic bands and no bands, “panelists detected no significant difference in the taste of the three samples.”

Website Highlights Sea Lice Findings

Friday, July 1st, 2011

FIS, the website of the international Fish & Information Services, reported on the findings by UMaine Professor Ian Bricknell and postdoctoral researcher Sally Molloy of the School of Marine Sciences that mussels eat a larval stage of the invasive sea louse, which has affected farmed salmon in Maine and elsewhere. Molloy commented on the research as it relates to the advancement of integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA), a concept which lowers the environmental impacts of commercial aquaculture by combining species which are fed, such as salmon, with species which extract nutrients from the water, such as mussels.