Archive for February, 2012

Economist’s Study Noted in Newspaper Report on Rise in Toxins

Monday, February 27th, 2012

A 2010 report by Mary Davis, a UMaine adjunct professor of economics, was noted in a Kennebec Journal story linking the rise in toxins in Maine’s air with an increase in the productivity of Maine’s pulp mills. The 2010 Economic Assessment of Children’s Health and the Environment in Maine, a report published in the Maine Policy Review, found childhood illnesses associated with toxic environmental exposures costs Maine at least $380 million a year.

Sustainable Maine Documentaries Available Online

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Maine EPSCoR and SSI are collaborating with MPBN on “Sustainable Maine” a series of documentaries highlighting the work of SSI researchers and stakeholders as they come together to take on tough issues. The first two episodes, “The Triple Bottom Line” and “Desperate Alewives”, are available online at http://video.mpbn.net/program/sustainable-maine/. Additional information and podcasts on the featured researchers, projects, and partners is available at http://www.umaine.edu/sustainabilitysolutions/news/sustainable_maine.html.

Environmental Law Expert in Report on Controversial Bill

Monday, February 27th, 2012

UMaine’s Sharon Tisher, a faculty member in the School of Economics whose specialty is environmental law and policy, testified Tuesday in a hearing in Augusta about a LD 1810, a bill that would allow landowners recourse when their property value has been harmed by environmental or other regulations, according to a Bangor Daily News story. Speaking on behalf of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Tisher said the group is strongly opposed to the bill because it would “waive important environmental statutes and create a great patchwork of environmental regulations that would ultimately significantly depress property values.”

Marine Scientists Featured in Newspaper Article

Monday, February 27th, 2012

UMaine marine scientists Emmanuel Boss and Lee Karp-Boss were the subjects of a Bangor Daily News article about their participation in the Tara Expeditions, a research journey that has spanned 81,000 nautical miles since September 2009. Karp-Boss is currently serving as chief scientist, her second time in that role as the Tara research vessel sails from New York to Bermuda. Boss served as chief scientist for a leg of the trip last year.

UMaine Researchers Awarded Maine Technology Institute Grants

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Three University of Maine-related research projects have received seed grant awards from the Maine Technology Institute (MTI).

The total amount of funding for the three projects, two of which are based in UMaine’s Aquaculture Research Institute (ARI), is $56,398 with $57,284 match.

One of the ARI projects awarded a grant was a research project to study the culture of Pacific abalone as a sustainable business in Maine. Heather Hamlin, an assistant professor in UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences, is working with Robert Bishop, a nontraditional UMaine student and an abalone entrepreneur of 25 years who is planning to open an abalone farm in Maine. The grant will fund the development of protocols for repeat conditioning and spawning of captive abalone, which are not native to Maine and whose broodstock are difficult to obtain. The protocols will allow for additional growers in Maine to expand into the abalone market, which has a large market potential in the U.S. and around the world. Neil Greenberg, an assistant scientist and manager of the Aquaculture Research Center (ARC) at UMaine, is also involved. The technique for rearing abalone in Maine will be innovative. Abalone are reared already in California and Hawaii, but through the use of the flow-through seawater technique. Bishop has developed an innovation for rearing abalone in Maine in a recirculating seawater system.

UMaine research assistant professor Sally Dixon Molloy and Ph.D. student Mike Pietrak, working with ARI research coordinator and Ian Bricknell, UMaine’s professor of aquaculture biology and head of ARI, are involved with ARI’s other MTI grant, which allocates $14,387 to develop a new biological trap for sea lice. The invasive sea louse is considered the greatest economic threat to Atlantic salmon culture in North America, but previous UMaine research has shown that mussels remove sea lice larvae from the water column. The project proposes to demonstrate that the addition of semiochemicals, which would attract planktonic sea lice larvae without attracting other plankton, to a mussel mass will reduce sea lice settlement on salmon as proof of a concept to develop and commercialize a biological trap for sea lice.

UMaine assistant research professor Andrew Goupee is part of a $25,000 grant to help do a detailed Cost of Energy (COE) research analysis of a deepwater foundation for offshore wind farms, known as a Submerged Web Foundation (SWF). The COE analysis is expected to strengthen future grant proposals and help fundraising and business development activities. Last year, MTI funded a preliminary analysis of the SWF that generated strong results. Goupee is working on the project with Oceanwind Technology LLC of Medford, Mass. MTI is an industry-led, publicly funded, nonprofit corporation that offers early-stage capital and commercialization assistance in the form of competitive grants, loans and equity investment for the research, development and application of technologies that create new products, processes and services, generating high-quality jobs across Maine. MTI Seed Grants of up to $25,000 are offered three times a year to support early-stage research and development activities for new products and services that lead to the market.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777 or jessica.bloch@umit.maine.edu

Huffington Post Cites UMaine Cranberry Research

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Cranberry research by University of Maine food science and human nutrition professor Vivian Wu and colleagues were cited in a blog in the Huffington Post about the multiple health benefits of antioxidant-rich cranberry juice. In addition to improving cardiovascular health, cranberries also fight infection. Wu studies ways cranberries can be used to slow or eliminate growth of listeria, salmonella, staph infection and E. coli in ground beef.

 Contact: George Manlove, (207) 581-3756

Website Picks up UMaine Climate Change Blog

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

The website Adventures in Climate Change is running all of the blog entries about a team of scientists from the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute who are on an expedition in the Tupungatito Glacier, located in a volcanic crater at an elevation of 19,000 feet in the Andes Mountains in Chile. Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute and Bjorn Grigholm, a Ph.D. student in Earth Science at UMaine, have been sending back blog entries via satellite phone from the field. The researchers are drilling ice cores, which they will bring back to UMaine. Adventures in Climate Change, which is a recommended blog on the Discovery Channel website, highlights the work being done by scientists, activists and anyone involved in climate change research as knowledge gatherers, observers or innovators.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777

UMaine Researcher Meets U.N. Secretary General On Research Vessel

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

University of Maine School of Marine Sciences associate research professor Lee Karp-Boss had the opportunity Saturday to meet with Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, and spark his interest in oceanography using hands-on activities she co-developed at UMaine.

C. Sardet - Tara Expeditions

Karp-Boss met with Ban on board the Tara, a 118-foot schooner that is the research vehicle for the Tara Oceans Expedition. Karp-Boss is the chief scientist for the leg that left New York City Sunday and is sailing to Bermuda. This is the third leg with a UMaine scientist as chief – School of Marine Sciences professor Emmanuel Boss previously sailed with the Tara from Panama to Savannah, Ga. – and the second for Karp-Boss.
Ban was on the Tara for about 90 minutes following a Feb. 9 U.N.conference about the Tara project.

The Tara left from Lorient, France, on Sept. 5, 2009, and has since been through the Mediterranean Ocean, in the Middle East, around southern Africa and across the Atlantic Ocean to South America. By March 2012, when the boat returns to Lorient, the expedition will have visited 32 countries with 50 stopovers.

Tara Oceans Expedition is primarily a European-funded venture, but has also received support from NASA, the United Nations, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Maine scientists from both UMaine and Bigelow Lab are active in the project.

For more information about the expedition, go to the Tara expedition website.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777 or jessica.bloch@umit.maine.edu

Op-Ed on Economies of Wind Power

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

UMaine economist Gary Hunt contributed to an opinion piece in the Portland Press Herald on the economies of commercial wind development. The piece claimed that media discussions of wind power economics often overemphasize the least important economic aspects, such the short-lived economic stimulus of construction jobs, while distorting the most important aspects, such as the long-term effects of receiving electricity with no fuel costs and no air emissions.

Food Scientist Comments on Leftovers

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

The website of the State newspaper in Columbia, S. C., also ran a Chicago Tribune story that included tips to keep leftovers safe and appetizing, with comments from UMaine food scientist Mary Ellen Camire. She noted that those who eat leftovers should try to compensate for the nutrients the leftover is not providing.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, 207-581-3777