Archive for April, 2012

UMaine to Host Network Meeting on Bird Migration

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

The University of Maine will host on Thursday, April 12 the annual meeting of the Northeast Regional Migration Monitoring Network, a group of researchers including UMaine biologist Rebecca Holberton, who study the Gulf of Maine’s migrating birds, many of whom face threats from climate change, on- and off-shore wind energy projects and habitat loss.

The meeting will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Woolley Room in UMaine’s Doris Twitchell Allen Village (DTAV). It is not open to the public.

Holberton and other UMaine researchers will be joined by representatives of network members, which include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge; Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; Acadia University in Nova Scotia; the Biodiversity Research Institute; North American consulting firm Stantec; the National Park Service; Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y.; University of Massachusetts; and the Maine Natural History Observatory.

About three dozen people are expected to attend with another dozen participating via conference call.

The meeting will be an update of the network partners’ ongoing and new research projects and information on funding. Network partners will also hear about new initiatives such as the Gulf of Maine Bird Observatory, a nonprofit organization being developed to lead on-campus educational programs and public outreach.

The Gulf of Maine Bird Observatory will hold bird banding demonstrations on Saturday, May 12, at the Orono Bog Walk and the Schoodic Education and Research Center (SERC) at Acadia National Park in Winter Harbor. May 12 is International Migratory Bird Day.

The Northeast Regional Migration Monitoring Network was established in 2010 in order to gain an accurate picture of migratory bird patterns and the birds’ relationships with the region’s habitats.

Contact: Rebecca Holberton, (207) 669-2842; Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777 or

Red Tide Research Noted on Science Daily Website

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

UMaine’s red tide research was noted in a story on Science Daily about the forecast for a moderate New England red tide in spring and summer 2012. UMaine is part of a group of NOAA-funded organizations working in the Gulf of Maine to study the toxic algae that causes red tide blooms.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777

Kaye Comments in USA Today Magazine Story

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Comments from Len Kaye, director of the University of Maine Center on Aging, were included in an article on lifestyles and longevity in the April 2012 issue of USA Today Magazine. Kaye says a sense of optimism and well-being can lead to positive long-term health effects.

Contact: George Manlove, (207) 581-3756

Maine Sea Grant awards funding for marine research in the Northeast

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

The Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine has announced the recipients of the latest two-year research funding awards from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Sea Grant Office. More than $600,000 will support nine research projects in the Northeast.

“Science is an essential element of Sea Grant’s public service, and this suite of projects will provide important discoveries that will benefit the people who live, work, and recreate on the coast of Maine,” said Paul Anderson, director of the Maine Sea Grant program.

Researchers from UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences and Department of Communication and Journalism are involved in four of the five funded initiatives:

  • Neal Pettigrew, UMaine: “General circulation and exchange between isolated regions in Casco Bay,” $115,124. Building on previously generated and newly collected oceanographic data, Pettigrew will characterize the major circulation features within Casco Bay to inform efforts to address ecological and economic threats.
  • Richard Wahle and Charlene Bergeron, UMaine, and Christine Tilburg, Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment’s Ecosystem Indicator Partnership: “Maximizing the utility and impact of the American Lobster Settlement Index database,” $126,416.

The funds will support the first comprehensive analysis of the American Lobster Settlement Index database and its power to predict trends in juvenile and adult lobster populations.

  • Gayle Zydlewski, James McCleave and Haley Viehman, UMaine: “Fish distribution in relation to tidal hydropower in Downeast Maine,” $73,204. Zydlewski’s team plans to expand its existing tidal hydroelectric development research in the region to look at fish distribution and behavior in proximity to a cross-flow turbine device currently installed in Cobscook Bay.
  • Laura Lindenfeld, UMaine: “The Seafood Links Project: Promoting sustainable seafood in Maine’s inland areas,” $46,298. Using a mixed-methods social science approach, Lindenfeld will explore how consumers in Maine conceptualize seafood and its connections to “local” and “sustainable” food, and how this information can support new and expanded markets in inland areas.
  • William Ambrose, Bates College, and Brian Beal, UMaine-Machias, “Variation in the growth of the soft-shell clam along the coast of Maine,” $147,473. Ambrose and Beal will examine growth rates of wild clams and follow the growth of hatchery-reared juveniles in the wild.

In addition to the five Maine-based projects, Maine Sea Grant is supporting additional regional research projects through the Northeast Sea Grant Consortium. A total of $597,356 in NOAA funds will support social science research projects in coastal and marine spatial planning, fisheries management and climate change adaptation.

For more information go to

Contact: Catherine Schmitt, (207) 581-1434 or; Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777 or

Gabe Economy Analysis in BDN Editorial

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

University of Maine School of Economics professor Todd Gabe was interviewed for a Bangor Daily News editorial discussing the types of jobs that need to be created to stabilize the Maine economy with well-paying employment. Gabe has researched the “creative economy” and “knowledge economy,” and finds that regions without young, technologically savvy, artistically inclined and entrepreneurially driven people tend to experience business and wage growth stagnation.

Contact: George Manlove, (207) 581-3756

Marine Scientist Part of Task Force on Global Fishing

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

University of Maine marine scientist Robert Steneck is a member of a task force that recently announced a recommendation to halve global fishing for crucial prey species such as herring, anchovy and other species known as forage fish.
The Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force released on April 1 its report, “Little Fish, Big Impact: Managing a crucial link in ocean food webs.” According to a news release from the Pew Charitable Trusts, which manages the Lenfest Ocean Program, the report concluded that in most ecosystems at least twice as many of these species should be left in the ocean as conventional practice.

Forage fish are small schooling fish that are a crucial link in ocean food webs because they eat tiny plants and animals, called plankton, and are preyed upon by animals such as penguins, whales, seals, puffins and dolphins. They are also primary food sources for many commercially and recreationally valuable fish found around North America, such as the Maine lobster (as bait), salmon, tuna, striped bass, and cod. The task force estimated that globally, forage fish are twice as valuable in the water as in a net — contributing $11.3 billion by serving as food for other commercially important fish. This is more than double the $5.6 billion they generate as direct catch.

Made up of 13 preeminent scientists with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force was established to generate specific and practical advice to support better management of forage fish around the world. This group of experts, with support from the Lenfest Ocean Program, synthesized scientific research and other information about these species and conducted original simulation modeling to reach their conclusions.

Contact:Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777 or

Researcher Noted in Release on Global Fishing Study

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Bob Steneck, a professor in UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences, was listed in a news release as being part of a task force studying the impact of global fishing. The Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force released on April 1 its recommendation that fishing for herring, anchovy, and other forage fish in general should be cut in half globally to account for their critical role as food for larger species. The report was noted in the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777

Chilean Expedition Featured in Newspaper

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

A recent expedition to Chile by Paul Mayewski, director of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, and a team of other UMaine scientists, was featured in the Bangor Daily News. The article noted the group drilled ice cores in a crater inside an active volcano. Mayewski told the BDN the region is important because the glaciers there are one of the primary water sources for the growing city of Santiago. Andrei Kurbatov, an assistant research professor who was on the trip, said ice core samples can even reveal a picture of how changes humans have made in just the past few decades have affected contaminants in the atmosphere.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, tel: (207) 581-3777

Economist Comments About Lagging Economic Growth

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Todd Gabe, a UMaine economist, was quoted in a Bangor Daily News article about the announcement that Maine’s earnings growth is ranked the worst among states. Gabe told the BDN his research has found areas that the economy places less value on today include sectors such as agriculture, construction, low-end manufacturing, fishing and forestry — areas that traditionally have been Maine’s strengths. Sectors that are valued include computer and mathematical occupations, business, financial and professional services careers, and other high-tech jobs.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777

Oceanographers Featured in AP Report

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

In an Associated Press report that ran in the Boston Herald, UMaine oceanographers Jeffrey Runge and Dave Townsend were interviewed about this winter’s rise in air temperatures, which has caused the water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine to rise. In the report, which noted that warmer water could result in lobsters molting their shells early and ocean algae blooming ahead of schedule, Runge said temperature affects all life processes, but it’s too soon to say if changes brought on by rising water temperatures will be good or bad. Townsend told the AP it’s important to look at all angles to determine what will be the effects of warming water.

Contact: Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777