Poster Session

Poster Awards

First Place High School

Honorable Mention High School

First Place Undergraduate

Honorable Mention Undergraduate

First Place Graduate

Honorable Mention Graduate

Poster Abstracts

High School Posters

Undergraduate Posters

Graduate Posters

Professional Posters

* Poster presenters are indicated in bold font.

High School Poster Abstracts

1. The Development of a Phytoplankton Population Monitoring System to Autonomously Track and Predict Eutrophication Levels

Quinn D’Alessio (student)
Bangor High School STEM Academy, Bangor, ME

As of 2012, about 78% of United States coastal waters are affected by algae blooms. An overgrowth of algae can deplete oxygen needed by aquatic biota and cause health issues when it comes into contact with humans and animals. Therefore, monitoring algae populations within bodies of water is important in ensuring its safety for both humans and the ecosystem. This study develops a novel, autonomous monitoring system that allows for real-time measurements of algae biodiversity. With the use of a device housing a dissolved oxygen sensor and a small-scale computer, oxygen levels can be compared to a correlation model that determines the likely algae population makeup. The model is developed from a database compiled that contains relative algae abundances within known conditions. By matching observed conditions to the model, the program can calculate the relative abundance of individual genera and construct the likely makeup of the algae population. Preliminary results show an average accuracy of 94.75% compared to true data, suggesting this device on the shores of bodies of water provides an accurate and more accessible method of measuring biodiversity, allowing for real-time monitoring of eutrophication levels within the source. Through such monitoring, we can ensure the safety of vital water sources, not only preserving the biodiversity of our ecosystems but providing clean water to communities around the world as well.

26. A Seasonal Study of Microplastic Pollution in the Penobscot River Watershed

Virginia Hunt (student)
Bangor High School STEM Academy, Bangor, ME

Microplastic pollution is a serious problem due to the harm it has on the ecosystem. Human and animal populations are at risk because of the health concerns from microplastics. No larger than five millimeters in diameter, they are polluting lakes, rivers, oceans, and beaches all over the world. This pollution is affected by factors such as population density and human activity. Examining the effects the seasons have on microplastic pollution is important in furthering the study of which factors impact it. In this study, which focuses on microplastic pollution in the Penobscot River Watershed, samples were taken from eight different sites in the summer and fall. The microplastics were separated from the samples using density separation, filtration, and Nile Red dye. An image-processing computer script was created in Matlab to determine the percentage of plastic in each sample based on the area of 110-millimeter filter paper. Previous results show that the traces of microplastics in each sample are affected by the population density and human activity in the surrounding area of the site. Areas with higher populations and more human activity had higher percentages of microplastics. Results are pending on this seasonal study of microplastic pollution in the Penobscot River Watershed. The expansion of this study is the next step in raising awareness of microplastic pollution in local communities.

2. The Application of Clay Filtration Technology in Remediating the Effects of Industrial Emissions in Surface Water

McKayla Kendall (student) and Maya Elkadi (student)
Bangor High School Stem Academy, Bangor, ME

New public testimony shows continued impacts of heavy metals in drinking water throughout the state of Maine. As seen before in the Flint, Michigan water crisis, heavy metal poisoning can be fatal. These metals disproportionately impact vulnerable communities and are therefore extremely important to monitor and treat. Previous research has shown the positive impacts of clay filtration tablets in removing such heavy metals from water, countering their toxicity and negative effects. Further research that we’ve conducted focused on the use of Selenium and Vitamin-E in conjunction with silver nanoparticles to remediate heavy metals in drinking water (80.16% average reduction, n=4). After testing the locally impaired Penjajawoc Stream for heavy metals and finding that 11 of the 25 metals were detected, this current study focuses on the use of clay filtration tablets to remove such heavy metals from source water. Simultaneously, it studied the efficacy of the tablets with different compounds (silver nanoparticles, alum, and sodium alginate). Sixteen tablets were created with sawdust and red clay powder by combining them with a hydraulic press and firing them in a kiln. Copper sulfate pentahydrate solutions emulated heavy metal polluted water in order to test in a controlled environment through the use of visible and atomic absorption spectroscopy. Further data and results are pending, yet preliminary results suggest that this study provides the potential for a cost-effective way to remediate heavy metals in impaired bodies of water.

Undergraduate Poster Abstracts

3. The River Divides Us: Community Perceptions of Dam Removal on the Megunticook River, Camden, Maine

Hallie Arno (student)
College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine

Dam removals are an ideal case study of human-environmental interactions. Particularly in New England, dam removals can be contentious, as dams can be viewed as a part of a town’s identity. Studying these conflicts provides insights into the values behind conservation in the community. The Megunticook River in Camden, Maine, has seven dams along the river’s 3.5-mile stretch. These dams create a barrier to fish passage, modify water speed and temperature, and increase flood risk. The Camden Select Board is investigating options to restore the river, including the removal of four dams. This prompted controversy, including the formation of a group dedicated to saving the most visible of these dams. I administered an online survey and conducted structured interviews with community members about the Munticook River watershed to better understand community perceptions of dam removal and restoration. This revealed themes such as the subjectivity of “ecosystem health,” conflict between preserving history and conserving biodiversity, the role of local ecology in collective identity, the responsibility of conserving habitat in a changing climate, and the importance of stakeholder engagement in management decisions. The information gathered in the study can be used to inform future restoration projects by examining the values underpinning attitudes around ecological restoration and ways to incorporate those values into restoration planning.

4. Precipitation-Mediated Fluctuations of Well Water Arsenic in Hancock County, ME

Benjamin Capuano (student)1, Madalyn Adams1, Sarah R. Hall1, Jane Disney2

  1. College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME
  2. Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME

Arsenic (As) contamination presents a threat to the health of those living in households who rely on private wells for their drinking water. With over half of Maine residents and ~80% of Hancock County residents relying on wells, well water quality is a first-order public health concern for this area. Monthly well water samples collected during 2020-2021 from private wells on Mount Desert Island and in the town of Trenton reveal seasonal fluctuations in arsenic concentration as water levels change throughout the year. To consider potential fluctuations over shorter timescales, a set of 32 wells from the monthly program were tested before and after rain events in October, February, May, and August. This subset includes wells with varying substrates, elevations, positions within the watershed, well types, and pre-rain arsenic concentrations ranging from <1 to >50 ppb. In addition to As, samples were analyzed by ICP-MS for 13 other elements at the Trace Element Analysis Laboratory of Dartmouth College. Preliminary results suggest that most wells only fluctuate within~1ppb of the pre-rain concentration, however some wells show fluctuations in arsenic >15ppb between the pre- and post-rain samples. None of the wells fluctuated more during rain events than the fluctuations observed in the same well over the entire year. Further, the maximum post-rain arsenic concentrations for many wells are similar to the maximum arsenic values measured in the same well at other points in the year. A concerning note is that some individual wells had concentrations below the Maine As MCL of 10ppb before a rain event and above the MCL after the rain event. As there were no consistent pre- and post-rain event trends in As concentration across all 32 wells sampled, this speaks to the unique characteristics of each well due to their specific environmental conditions. Well owners should be aware that their well water chemistry may vary in concentration throughout the year or over days through rain events and consider testing more frequently than the recommended once every 3-5 years to better understand the full As range for their well. Arsenic at any level is considered toxic, thus well owners with arsenic concentrations near to the Maine MCL might consider installing a reverse osmosis point-of-use filter to ensure clean water through changing conditions.

5. Transport Dynamics of Road Salt and Its Impacts on the Water Quality of the Impaired Hart Brook Watershed (Lewiston, Maine)

Chen Chen (student)
Bates College, Department of Earth and Climate Science, Lewiston, ME

The application of road salt (NaCl) as a deicing compound in the United States began in the 1930s, and the Hart Brook watershed, located in Lewiston, Maine, has experienced elevated specific conductivity (SpC) values presumably due to the road salt retention since the first measurement in 2011. While the year-long spatial and temporal changes of the road salt contamination in the Hart Brook remain unclear, the purpose of this study is to investigate the transport dynamics of road salt and its impacts on the water quality of this watershed in a period of a year, in the aim of improving the understanding and the regulations on the nonpoint sources of pollution in this area. From late March 2021 to early spring 2022, water levels, SpC values, discharges, and major ions were analyzed from 7 sites on a biweekly/monthly basis. Consistent with former reports, Cl- concentrations in the watershed usually surpass the chronically toxic level of 230 ppm suggested by EPA in the summer and winter, reaching 435 ppm and 430 ppm due to drought conditions and road salt applications, respectively. Increasing Cl- flux during fall may indicate the road salt residence in soils, and the significant difference between the annual Cl- input amounts from the government and the actual export amounts from the measurements may suggest the presence of unregulated private application of road salt. The transport dynamics were analyzed through the characterization of the topography of the watershed and a first flush event during a storm in July.

6. Comparing Municipal COVID-19 Response in Inland vs. Coastal Communities in Maine

Benjamin Cotton (student)1, Tamra Benson (student)1, Annie Coburn (student)2, Vanessa R. Levesque2, Eileen Johnson3, Kathleen Bell1

  1. University of Maine, Orono, ME
  2. University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME
  3. Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME

COVID-19 is an ongoing problem across the world that has required a direct response from all scales of governments. While a national approach is imperative, state and local governments are pivotal in dispersing critical information by tailoring their responses to address local problems. In this research, we looked at the differences between Maine inland and coastal communities in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We examined the digital communication response of 50 coastal and 50 inland municipalities, ranging in size from 26 to 25,515 residents, and we interviewed 20 municipalities about their COVID-19 responses. We found that coastal and larger municipalities demonstrated greater digital communications regarding COVID-19 compared to inland and smaller municipalities. However, interviews suggest that many municipalities, regardless of location or size, were able to provide residents with additional resources during the pandemic by forming partnerships within their towns. Our results underscore the importance of municipal governments, in answering questions and resolving issues regarding current pandemic conditions. Thus, through this research, we aim to identify ways to enhance the capacity of municipalities to communicate and provide services during crises.

7. Starting Fresh! Gathering New Information on Freshwater Flow Pouring into Maine’s Estuaries

Hanna Cronin (student), Sean Smith, Neil Fisher
University of Maine, Orono, ME

Coastal water quality and aquatic habitat conditions are largely driven by fresh and saltwater inputs to estuaries. Information on the freshwater flows is essential for detection and prediction of problems related to coastal ecosystems, seafood industries, and public health. The monitoring and prediction of stream flows can be challenging due to complicated measurement logistics and modeling uncertainties. Here we address these challenges in the Frenchman Bay region using an ensemble of measurement approaches, followed by comparison of stream discharge time series to watershed rainfall-runoff simulations. Monitoring flow in Crippens Brook in Trenton, Maine allowed for the development of a discharge time series that is compared to the three different forecast ranges of the National Water Model (NWM) using the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency evaluation. The measurement and post-processing of the discharge time series in the study watershed provides a new fresh start for quantification of runoff inputs into the Bay. The flow time series provides important information for new modeling of land-sea connections and estuary hydraulic conditions, as well as a basis to expand uses of the NWM for land-sea connections affecting estuaries in the future. Results from analyses of individual storm events and extended time series indicate that the NWM is a relatively poor predictor of runoff (freshwater flows) in the Frenchman Bay watershed with the longest range prediction producing the most accurate outcome. Underprediction of flows by the NWM, when compared to our measurements, can be attributed to uncertainties in the meteorological and runoff components of the NWM simulations.

8. Arsenic Abundance in Arugula and Kale of Coastal Maine Farms

Adam Feher (student)1, Sarah R. Hall1, Jane E. Disney2

  1. College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME
  2. Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME

Arsenic, an element with a litany of negative health effects caused by chronic exposure, is widely abundant throughout New England. Known sources of arsenic in this region include arsenical pesticide application throughout the 20th century and naturally occurring arsenic leached from the metasedimentary rocks of the region. Exposure is most common through the consumption of private well water, however some studies show elevated arsenic levels in Brassica family plants when grown in former orchards where pesticides were applied. Further, arsenic concentrations in water from dug wells at a local farm has been shown to increase during the growing season due to irrigation by arsenic-rich water sourced from the local drilled deep well. Thus, produce may be exposed to arsenic sourced from the soil or rock in the near surface or through irrigation waters. To understand if consumption of local arugula (Eruca vesicaria) and kale (Brassica oleracea) could contribute to chronic arsenic exposure, 11 samples (8 kale, 3 arugula) from 10 farms located near regions where metasedimentary bedrock is present and arsenical pesticides were likely to have been used in the past were collected for trace metal analysis. The arugula samples yielded arsenic concentrations of 0.05-1.26 mg kg-1 and kale yielded 0.02-0.17 mg kg-1. When considering a serving of 1 US cup of arugula (20g) and kale (67g), the arsenic that would be consumed by ingesting these produce range from 0.09-2.27 μg and 0.17-1.95 μg, respectively. For adult individuals, normal consumption of arugula and kale fall well below the benchmark dose for a 0.5% increased incidence of lung cancer of 3.0 μg kg-1 (of bodyweight) day-1 based upon epidemiological studies. As these samples were obtained by shopping at local farmers markets and grocers, the next steps of this project will include testing these or other crops as well as the soil and well water arsenic concentrations of the agricultural areas from which these crops were harvested.

9. Investigation of Laminaria saccharina burial below Damariscotta River seaweed farms using eDNA and stable isotopes

Esther Martin (student), Beverly Johnson
Bates College, Lewiston, ME

Until recently, kelps and seaweeds have been left out of the global blue carbon conversation, because the high energy and rocky substrate environments in which wild kelp naturally grows are unsuited for burial in benthic sediment. Developments in aquaculture and seaweed farming have diversified the environments in which kelp now grows and increased the possibility for kelp burial. The Damariscotta River is home to a number of aquaculture lease sites including Maine Sea Farms, a ten year seaweed farm in Clarks Cove (farm capacity: 10x100m longlines), and the Darling Marine Center (farm capacity: 1x100m longline), a one year experimental seaweed farm in Lowes Cove. Sediment was sampled in these two coves and Pleasant Cove, which is in the same area in the river, but without a kelp farm lease, before, during, and after kelp harvest season in February, May, June, and July of 2021. Sediment samples were analyzed for δ13C, δ15N, δ34S, percent carbon, and eDNA. Acidified sediment δ13C (-21.6 to -19.7) aligns with local kelp (Laminaria saccharina) δ13C (-20.7) (samples taken from the Darling Marine Center farm), suggesting that some amount of kelp from farms is buried locally. Ng of Laminaria saccharina DNA in samples was consistently highest at the Clark’s Cove site, particularly in the middle of the kelp harvest season in May (SQ= 391-687). Preliminary data shows that farmed kelp is more likely to be buried in sediment than wild kelp.

10. Low cost continuous under ice temperature data collection

Jarret Mayo (student), Brian DiMento, Whitney King
Colby College, Waterville, ME

The under ice dynamics of temperate lakes can play a major role in phosphorus concentrations during spring turnover, a phenomenon which has not been well studied, which may contribute to early season algae blooms. Conversely, degradation or disturbances of the winter thermocline can result in increased dissolved oxygen reaching the sediment and preventing the release of phosphorus from iron bound complexes in an otherwise reducing environment. Ice safety makes it challenging to measure under ice properties during the ice to open water transition. To better understand the effect of winter inverse stratification and possible under ice dynamics inexpensive (<$500) sensor buoys were built to collect continuous temperature data at ten depths and deployed on Long and North ponds, a deep dimictic lake and shallow polymicitc lake respectively, located in the Belgrade lakes region of central Maine. Data collection is ongoing and will continue until ice out in early April. Preliminary data suggests daily a seiche occurring in the deep water of Long Pond which has an as yet unknown effect on sub thermocline dissolved oxygen concentrations. While our work is focusing on the under ice dynamics, the inexpensive buoy package provides significant opportunities of expanded lake sensing during all times of the year.

11. Influence of different water treatment systems on arsenic concentrations in private well groundwater: A view from MDI, ME

Ludwin Moran (student)1, Sarah R. Hall1, Anna Farrell2, and Jane Disney2

  1. College of the Atlantic
  2. MDI Biological Laboratory

Arsenic (As) is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless carcinogenic metal commonly found in the groundwater of private wells in Maine due to the regional metasedimentary bedrock. Chronic exposure to As through drinking water, even at low doses, can lead to cancer of internal organs, damage to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and developmental issues in children. Beyond arsenic, other common well water contaminants that could cause negative health outcomes if ingested chronically include the metals uranium (U) and lead (Pb). This study focuses on 32 wells in the Mount Desert Island area chosen for their various As and U concentrations and different styles of filtration. Filter types included particulate filters, filters to remove As and other dissolved ions such as Reverse-Osmosis (RO) systems, and other common components including water softeners and U.V. filters to remove bacteria. While we focus here on just three elements of concern, our analysis includes 13 total elements. Like prior studies, we found that particulate filters typically remove about 10% of arsenic, presumably when it exists as a solid phase or adsorbed to another solid metal. RO systems almost completely eliminate As from the groundwater and regularly reduce ~99% of the total element concentration when properly maintained. Other filters, like water softeners and radon mitigation systems, reduce some of the total element concentration but are not designed to remove As, Pb, or U.  Not surprisingly, RO systems were the most effective in removing contaminants from private well water regardless of the total amount or the variability in As concentrations throughout the year. Regularly maintained RO systems successfully reduce concentrations below the current Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 10 µg/L as well as more judicious 5 µg/L MCL for the states of NJ and NH. Although as we show, RO systems can fail to remove As when not regularly maintained. This study highlights some of the challenges and opportunities of different systems to reduce unwanted elements within drinking water in a real human-moderated environment.

12. Addressing Energy Justice for Wabanaki Communities through Community Energy

Mary O’Flaherty (student)1, Jasmine Lamb (student)1, Sharon Klein1, Shantel Neptune2

  1. University of Maine
  2. Penobscot Nation

The purpose of this research is to address energy justice by improving access to sustainable energy through community energy action and better understand the barriers underrepresented groups face in accessing sustainable energy. Our methods include a literature review, surveys and interviews of Penobscot Nation and Passamaquoddy Tribe citizens, field notes from a community window-insert building workshop for Penobscot Nation residents of Indian Island (in partnership with the non-profit organization WindowDressers), and quantitative modeling of predicted energy, emissions, and monetary savings from inserts. Window inserts are pine frames wrapped in two layers of plastic, lined with weather-stripping, and compression-installed inside of window frames.

Through the community window insert building workshop, we (including 60 volunteers from Indian Island, Orono, and the University of Maine) built 116 window inserts for 13 Penobscot Nation citizens to reduce heat loss, save money, and reduce negative environmental impacts from fossil fuel use (total projected savings: 64-95 MMBtu/yr, $977-$3,397/yr, and 6-10 tons of greenhouse gas emissions/year, respectively). Participants received window inserts for free thanks to funding from the Mitchell Center.

We have 31 survey responses from Penobscot Nation citizens. Interviews are still in progress – we completed 7 interviews of Passamaquoddy Tribal members, and are currently developing a survey for them. We will present the preliminary, in-progress results from interviews and surveys completed to-date, and additional information on the predicted energy, emissions, and monetary savings from the window insert building workshop. The final results of our study will be available in June, 2022.

13. Expanding Maine’s Blue Economy through Aquaculture Business in Maine

Giselle Sillsby (student), Caroline L. Noblet, Christian Brayden
University of Maine, Orono, ME

Aquaculture offers an opportunity to provide sustainable seafood and contribute to Maine’s economic growth. The rapid growth of aquaculture in Maine has led to a need for information on how aquaculture businesses have responded to the increased demand for their products and their plans for expansion, distribution, and promotion of their product.

This study uses data from a February 2022 survey of Maine Aquaculture businesses collaborating with the Maine Aquaculture Association. We document priorities for industry growth, struggles, and lessons learned by Maine aquaculturists.

We explore the Maine aquaculture industry’s current and planned distribution methods, product promotion, and expansion plans. Importantly, this work provides a snapshot of the industry after the impact of COVID-19 on food products, including plans to expand Maine’s aquaculture product sales locally, in-state, and beyond.

14. Do the orchard soils of the Mount Desert Island region harbor residuals of historical arsenical pesticides use?

Lenka Slamova (student)1, Adam Feher (student)1, Sarah R. Hall1, Anna Farrell2, Jane E. Disney2

  1. College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME
  2. Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME

Long-term low-level exposure to arsenic is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, several cancers, and developmental issues in children. As a known public health concern, especially for the New England region, it is crucial that we study arsenic in Maine to better understand the pathways of ingestion and exposure. Metasedimentary bedrock in New England is a known source of arsenic in soils and well water; surface soils in agricultural areas also may have been contaminated due to the extensive use of arsenical pesticides during the first half of the twentieth century. We investigated the near-surface soils in old apple orchards on the northern part of Mount Desert Island and two previously farmed properties in Trenton, ME to determine concentrations of arsenic and other metals. Small family orchards revealed arsenic levels similar to the Maine average suggesting there are no residuals of arsenical pesticides present. One larger orchard revealed elevated levels of arsenic in the soil, however the drilled well on the property yielded very low levels of arsenic. This suggests to us that the arsenic in the soil at this site may have come from pesticide use in the past rather than by weathering products of the local bedrock. Wells located in Trenton ME, a region where pesticide use was likely, revealed soil arsenic levels above background and elevated arsenic in drilled wells and low to trace amounts in dug wells. The source of the arsenic at these sites may be related to prior pesticide use, but it is also likely to be related to the underlying metasedimentary bedrock. As part of the larger NIH SEPA “All About Arsenic” project, which engages teachers and students as citizen scientists in well water monitoring, this pilot study developed methods for soil sampling and processing to be used by middle and high school students in a related citizen science project called “Orchards, Gardens, and Fields”. We will present our initial findings from the soil and water surveys of MDI and Trenton properties as well as the methods developed and next steps of the citizen science project.

15. Assessing arsenic effects on neurological signaling and regeneration using in-vivo Planarian model

Gregory Spencer (student)1, Valerie Erhardt1, Collin Frango1, Jane Disney2, Juyoung Shim1

  1. University of Maine at Augusta, Augusta, ME
  2. MDI Biological Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME

The goal of this project was to assess the impact of prevalent environmental toxicants, including arsenic (As) in well water in Maine, by examining regeneration capacity and behavior modification in-vivo using planarian flatworms as an animal model. Maine is among the highest per capita for reliance on private wells for drinking water in the U.S., however, these private wells are largely unregulated and often these groundwater reserves are contaminated with arsenic in many cases far exceeding the EPA limit of 10 ppb. Numerous detrimental health effects by arsenic exposure have been reported, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, mental disorders, allergic diseases, developmental abnormalities, and neurological disorders. Through MDI Biological Laboratory on their NIGMS Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) project, we examined the effects of well water with 10ppb-50ppb As. We also conducted experiments using pure arsenic solution to compare with As-contaminated well water. Planarians were exposed to arsenic water for hours to days before being assessed for behavior changes and regenerative capacity relative to control groups (0 ppb As). Our data show that exposure to a high concentration of arsenic (above 50ppb) suppressed locomotor activity with no decline in their regenerative ability.

16. Hedonic Property Value Analysis of 4 Dams on the Kennebec

Tamsin Stringer (student), Mia Gates (student), Lynne Lewis
Bates College, Lewiston, ME

In 1999, the Edwards Dam on the Kennebec river was removed, making it the first federally licensed hydropower dam in Maine and in the country to be removed for the purpose of river restoration. Since that time, there have been significant river restoration efforts on other Maine rivers. However, there is little research on the social and economic effects of river restoration, and in this project we attempt to fill the gap through a socio-economic analysis of future dam removals. Building on work done by Dr. Lynne Y. Lewis and her students between 2006 and 2017, we shift our focus to four dams on the Upper Kennebec that are coming up for relicensing. These hydropower projects, located in the towns of Waterville-Winslow, Fairfield, and Skowhegan, has been extremely controversial; conservations groups argue that their owner, Brookfield Renewable energy, is violating the Endangered Species Act by blocking a critical migration corridor for Atlantic salmon and other sea-run fish. Pushback from Brookfield has stalled the legal process. With this context in mind, we dive into the historical background of hydropower on the Kennebec, and identify key attributes that affect local economies around these dams. Using ArcGIS and Stata, we perform hedonic property value analysis, and run regressions to draw relationships between property values, distances to the river, and distances to the nearest dams. The results from this work will contribute to a more thorough cost-benefit analysis of the four dams themselves, and help us expand on the ecological, economic, and social dynamics they create in communities that reside along the Kennebec river.

17. A comparison of carbon sequestration and vegetation history in two Maine salt marshes

Emily Torkelsen (student)
Bates College, Lewiston, ME

This thesis compares carbon stocks, sequestration rates, and changes in vegetation history in the eastern lobe of Cousins Marsh, Yarmouth, Maine and in Old Pond Marsh, Hancock, Maine. Interstate 295 was built over Cousins Marsh in the late 1950s, and Old Pond Marsh has an 1880s railway cutting across the southern cove and a man-made channel adding another tidal influence to the North end. Seven peat cores were taken throughout each marsh, totaling 14. All cores were subsampled and analyzed for total organic content (%LOI), two cores from each marsh were analyzed for carbon and nitrogen isotopes, and one core from each marsh were analyzed for lead concentration. Changes in δ13C suggest significant changes in vegetation and elevation over time. Patterns in δ13C, density, and carbon indicates that stream channel meanders alter the carbon storage. Lead concentrations were used to establish a pollution horizon and calculate accretion rates of 2.4mm/yr in Cousins and 2.0mm/yr in Old Pond. A relationship between total organic content and carbon content was established by linear regression (%C = 0.4513(%LOI) + 0.2419; R2 = 0.9557). Despite differences in location and human alteration, rates of carbon sequestration were very similar, at 77.8gCm-2yr-1 for Cousins and 72.0gCm-2yr-1 for Old Pond. From average carbon density and marsh area, the carbon stock of the top 60cm was determined to be 16.5 million kg of carbon for Cousins and 6.3 million kg of carbon for Old Pond. Accurate carbon stocks are essential for carbon budgets and prioritizing conservation work.

Graduate Poster Abstracts

18. Linking Hydrodynamics to Harmful Algal Blooms on the Coast of Maine

Taylor Bailey (student)1, Lauren Ross1, Sean Smith2,3 Hanna Cronin1, Maeve Dineen1

  1. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Maine, Orono, ME
  2. School of Earth & Climate Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, ME
  3. Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, University of Maine, Orono, ME

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) associated with the toxic diatom Pseudo-nitzschia (PN) have appeared in the coastal waters of Maine in recent years. The blooms are alarming because they produce the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA) that can lead to amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP), a potentially fatal illness when infected shellfish are consumed by humans. Despite this, knowledge of the environmental and hydrodynamic conditions that influence HAB occurrence and transport in marine waters is limited. The gaps in knowledge surrounding HABs influences shellfish harvesting closure decisions when PN is detected, adversely affecting the livelihood of aquaculture farmers and fishermen who rely on harvesting for income. This stakeholder driven research aims to support a more advanced scientific basis for closure decisions by investigating factors that influence HABs through measurements and hydrodynamic modeling of the Frenchman Bay estuary system. By drawing correlations between observational water quality data and measured levels of DA in shellfish meats, this work will help to identify conditions that cause HABs in the Gulf of Maine. Preliminary results suggest a correlation between precipitation events and bloom occurrence, which will be linked to hydrodynamic conditions from model hindcasts of the year 2016, the most severe year of ASP events in Maine. These findings will inform the development of a hydrodynamic forecasting model of Frenchman Bay, which is currently underway. The model will serve as a tool to inform management decisions surrounding bloom events and to advance understanding of HAB development and transport in marine waters.

19. The Impact of Conservation Land on Property Taxes

Abby Bennett (student), Adam Daigneault
School of Forest Resources, University of Maine, Orono, ME

With rapid growth in conservation land in New England, concerns have been raised about the impacts on property taxes and trade-offs in land use. As municipalities face a tighter budget environment and rely heavily on property taxes for revenue, conservation decisions become more salient. Conservation land is typically taxed at a lower rate than non-conserved land. It also reduces available space for developments which generate high tax revenue for municipalities.

The goals of this study are to understand the impact of conservation land on property taxes, to gather perceptions of conservation land, and to provide recommendations and applicable tools for land use planning. To understand the long-term effect of changes in conservation land on property tax rates, researchers will run econometric models with data from all Maine towns from 1990-2020. Heterogeneous models will isolate impacts between types of conserved land, current use land, town traits such as rural/urban, and economic conditions.

Based on existing literature and due to the complex supply and demand effects of conserved land, we hypothesize that on average, conservation land has a relatively small effect on property taxes. Preliminary results have supported this hypothesis, and direction of the effect can vary based on geography, ownership type, and various socio-economic factors. We believe the heterogenous models will generate more useful insights into which types of conservation land have the largest impact and what types of towns are most sensitive to tax-exempt real estate, among other effects. These findings will benefit municipalities and land use planners.

20. Embodiment as a Theme and Process in Collaborative Research

Michael Clay (student)1, Jennifer Smith-Mayo (student)1, Bridie McGreavy1,2, Heather Leslie2,3, Angela Wotton4, Sharri Venno5, Kathy Hoppe6, Philip Quint7, Helena Swiatek8, Susan Young5

  1. Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Maine, Orono, ME
  2. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, University of Maine, Orono, ME
  3. Darling Marine Center & School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, ME
  4. Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District, Houlton, ME
  5. Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians Natural Resources Department, Houlton, ME
  6. Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Augusta, ME
  7. Natural Resources Conservation Service, Houlton Field Office, Houlton, ME
  8. Natural Resources Conservation Service, Presque Isle Field Office, Presque Isle, ME

The purpose of our work is to center the concept of embodiment in research through describing the fine-grained practices and everyday interactions that shape collaborative research in the contexts of watershed restoration and environmental monitoring. We focus on embodiment because it offers a means for attending to the process and politics of knowledge production within and across disciplinary boundaries. Paying attention to embodied practices among collaborators, such as how we share ideas with each other, or decide what types of questions we ask, can help researchers understand how communication, and embodiment, shape collaboration. We describe these practices by drawing on findings from two case studies. In the first case, we describe insights from a project in the Meduxnekeag Watershed as we worked with partners to design an interview protocol that asks farmers how the act of farming helps them shape relationships with land and water. In the second case, we position research as an embodied action through co-creating a knowledge map to define environmental-DNA. Knowledge mapping relies on embodied processes as participants share ideas and shape research through discussion, listening, learning from each other, and organizing knowledge visually on the map. These cases highlight insights about how scholarly commitments to embodiment emerge amidst increasingly complex research questions involving conservation, sustainability, climate change, and environmental justice. In focusing on embodiment, we summarize opportunities for developing collaborative research relationships by building community partnerships, creating story maps, and developing ethical research practices–such as listening and sharing–in the co-production of knowledge with diverse partners.

21. Effects of salinity changes on freshwater and moderately saline biofilters

Eliza Costigan (student), Jean MacRae
University of Maine, Orono, ME

Fish typically excrete nitrogen in the form of ammonia, which is toxic to most organisms even at low concentrations. In recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), where only 10% of the system water is exchanged per day, the ammonia-nitrogen produced by fish must be converted to the less toxic nitrate-nitrogen before recirculation. The microbes that perform this conversion, nitrifiers, are notoriously sensitive to changes in environment, especially changes in salinity. This can be an issue in RAS when transitioning anadromous fish such as Atlantic salmon from freshwater to saltwater over their lifetimes. However, acclimation to a small amount of salinity before transition to a higher salinity may help biofilters recover from these changes. A series of experiments was performed on both freshwater and moderately saline (3 ppt) biofilters to assess their respective levels of recovery after an abrupt change in salinity (3, 20, and 33 ppt). Tests were run for a two-week period in which the nitrification rates were monitored. It was found that the nitrification rate in the freshwater biofilters recovered by approximately 91% in two weeks after a shift to 3 ppt water, and showed no recovery after shifting to 20 and 33 ppt water. The nitrification rate in the moderately saline filters recovered by about 11% in two weeks after a shift to 20 ppt water, and did not recover at all in 33 ppt water. These results indicate that it is possible to prepare biofilters for a major, abrupt salinity shift using a low level of salinity.

22. Partitioning of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) onto Landfill Geomembrane Liners: Are Landfills their Final Destination?

Simin Moavenzadeh Ghaznavi (student), Onur Apul
Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Maine, Orono, ME

The ubiquitous occurrence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment is one of the most significant contemporary environmental concerns. These human-made compounds, which are extremely persistent due to their strong C-F bonds, may bioaccumulate and pose health risks to humans. PFAS cannot be easily destroyed by conventional oxidation technologies or natural attenuation. Therefore, they circulate in the environment indefinitely hence are called forever chemicals. One pertinent destination of PFAS is solid waste management facilities (landfills), which originate from PFAS-laden wastewater biosolids, commercial products or adsorbents that are discarded. Although, most modern landfills have leachate collection systems, leachates may leak underground over the years and contaminate soil, groundwater. Consequently, landfill liner materials are perceived to be one of the last barriers to breaking this forever cycle and decrease the risks of PFAS release back to the environment. The physicochemical properties of PFAS (e.g., chain length, molecular weight, functional group), leachate chemistry (e.g., ionic strength, organic content, pH) and the properties of composite liners (e.g., organic matter content, surface area, textural class) are particularly imperative for PFAS fate and partitioning to landfill liners. In this work, we experimentally evaluate several commercially available landfill geomembranes in terms of PFAS partitioning to evaluate their affinity for retaining these molecules in the landfill. Our preliminary evaluation indicates that different geomembrane liners obtained from Juniper Ridge Landfill show different adsorption affinities towards probe molecules. We intent to create permeation experiments and predictive models for PFAS adsorption onto liners as a part of our study.

23. Submerged Oyster Cages as a Shoreline Retreat Mitigation Strategy

Liam Hanley (student)
University of Maine, Orono, ME

This project is one of several projects currently active in the Coastal Engineering group at the University of Maine’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The purpose of this study is to examine the use of sunken, over-wintered oyster farms as a strategy to reduce shoreline erosion. Wave forces constantly erode shorelines across the world, and natural solutions to coastal erosion have been studied to be effectual and generally better for ocean ecosystems than “hard engineering” solutions. Aquaculture represents a large portion of Maine’s economy, and some studies have been conducted on capitalizing on the breadth of Maine aquaculture for engineering solutions. This project involves measuring wave characteristics on a longline of oyster cages owned by Maine Ocean Farms, in Freeport, Maine. Field observations will be used to produce a numerical model of the localized area, so that different environments and farm layouts can be tested for efficacy. This project will inform oyster farmers and policy makers on layout strategies for their sunken oyster farms, with shoreline retreat in mind. This study will quantify the effect of bottom lying oyster gear on reducing wave height from winter storms and inform how these effects can be increased generally in Maine, to reduce coastal erosion. This project is currently ongoing and will have results by the end of Summer 2022.

24. Predictive Statistical Model Development for Adsorption of Organic Compounds by Microplastics

Dilara Hatinoglu (student), Onur Apul
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Maine, Orono, ME

Plastics are one of the most versatile materials of the modern age, resulting in continuous increase in their global production and release into the aquatic environment. During their environmental retention, they degrade into micron-sizes and interact with other synthetic pollutants. Due to their high surface area and hydrophobicity, microplastics have recently raised concerns about being vectors for transferring hazardous pollutants into the biota. Investigation of this mechanism plays an essential role in understanding the fate and transport of organic compounds (OCs). Recent literature produced a large database of OCs’ adsorption onto microplastics. However, given the influence of plastic properties (e.g., polymer type, particle size), characteristics of chemicals (e.g., functional groups, hydrophobicity, concentration), and the variability of aquatic matrices (e.g., salinity, pH, dissolved organic matter), it is not feasible to have a complete representation of the risk by conducting laboratory experiments alone. Therefore, this study aims to develop a robust predictive model for adsorption of OCs by microplastics using linear solvation energy relationship (LSER) approach. Adsorption data from 92 studies were analyzed to train LSER models. Our first model regarding polyethylene yielded an R^2=0.92 (for 29 neutral aromatic OCs with molecular weight cutoff <400 g/mol). However, further narrowing the molecular weight cutoff to <200 g/mol improved the model strength to R^2=0.95 (n=15). Among all LSER model descriptors, molecular volume parameter (V) was the most predominant descriptor at all concentrations. The results demonstrated that LSER can be a promising approach for predicting the adsorption mechanism of OCs by microplastics.

25. Human connections to coastal hydrodynamics in Maine

Reilley Hicks (student), Preston Spicer (student), Taylor Bailey (student), Sam Rickerich (student), Liz Younce (student), Liam Hanley (student)
Student Chapter, COPRI, ASCE
Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Maine, Orono, ME

The coastal engineering research group in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maine explores connections between the man-made environment and coastal oceans. Both fundamental and applied research topics are investigated to advance our understanding of coastal processes locally in Maine and beyond, with particular attention paid to coastal pollution, erosion, rising sea levels, aquaculture, and ocean renewable energy. Current research areas utilize numerical modeling and field observations to investigate: (1) how river-borne materials mix into the coastal ocean, (2) how waves and tidal currents interact in shallow coastal waters, (3) erosion dynamics and means of prevention, (4) the impact on biofouling and shellfish growth in the presence of aquaculture farms, (5) river discharge effects on overtides in a fluvial-marine environment, (6) harmful algal bloom development and migration, (7) how to mitigate wind and wave-induced responses of floating offshore wind turbines, and (8) wave attenuation through floating oyster farms. The outcomes of this work will inform coastal communities, government agencies, stakeholders, fellow scientists, and engineers. For example, an end product of the harmful algal bloom research will be a forecasting tool that will predict bloom migration in Frenchman Bay, Maine. The tool will help to inform decisions by the Maine Department of Marine Resources to close coastal regions to shellfish harvesting when blooms occur. Additionally, research focusing on erosion dynamics and mitigation techniques will aid coastal communities in identifying risk associated with wave and current-induced coastal erosion, helping to inform mitigation strategies to reduce subsequent effects.

27. Hydrodynamic modeling of boulder clusters for river restoration

Mark Jordan (student), Peter Koons
School of Earth and Climate Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, ME

Boulder clusters have the potential to be effective habitat restoration structures in Maine’s rivers. During the past several centuries, modifications to Maine rivers such as the removal of natural log jams and boulders, to enhance navigation and log drives, resulted in substantial disturbances to aquatic habitats.

River ice cover is important to the winter survival of juvenile Atlantic salmon, but with climate warming, the duration and extent of river ice is likely to decline, resulting in adverse impacts on the juvenile salmon winter survival rates. Project SHARE, a Maine based conservation organization, has installed several boulder clusters on the Narraguagus River in Maine. During the last two winters, the boulder clusters have developed a ring of border ice early in the season. In addition to their warm weather habitat benefits, it is likely that the combination of the boulder clusters and associated border ice act as a river restriction, trapping frazil ice pans and promoting river freeze-up earlier than otherwise would occur, thus helping to offset the impacts of a warming climate.

To better understand the flow velocities around the boulder clusters and how they relate to habitat requirements, with and without border ice, 3-dimensional, hydrodynamic numerical models have been developed for the boulder clusters and border ice. The model is currently capable of mapping velocity zones where juvenile Atlantic salmon prefer to feed. The model will eventually be used to evaluate ice-structure interactions, thus helping restoration professionals to select site suitable designs.

28. Using eDNA tools to identify and quantify the phytoplankton taxa of a unique algae bloom

Sharon L. Mann (student)1, Karen A. Wilson2, Robin Sleith3, Peter Countway3

  1. Ecology and Environmental Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, ME
  2. Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME
  3. Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, East Boothbay, ME

In 2014-2017, Highland Lake, Maine, USA, experienced unusual phytoplankton blooms characterized by rapid bloom development and sustained poor water clarity (< 2 m secchi depth) for 3-4 weeks, followed by sudden improvement in water clarity in mid-August. In 2018, the bloom was not as dense (minimum secchi = 2.9 m), and only lasted for a few days, but showed the same pattern in water clarity. In 2018 we investigated possible triggers of the bloom, including the suspected presence of picocyanobacteria. Metabarcoding environmental DNA (eDNA) water samples offers a promising opportunity to monitor the relative abundance of nuisance algae blooms that are difficult to manually quantify such as picocyanobacteria (<2 µm). We processed 47 eDNA samples collected bi-weekly from July – October for 16S (cyanobacteria specific) and 18S (eukaryotic) rRNA gene diversity via high-throughput sequencing to investigate the relative dominance of bloom forming taxa. The green algae genera, Rhexinema, dominated the 18S phytoplankton (>50% reads Rhexinema) when the water transparency was lowest and a peak in chlorophyll-α was observed. The week following the lowest water transparency, Cyanobium spp. dominated the 16S bacterial community coincident with a local peak in phycocyanin, a pigment associated with cyanobacteria (>75% reads Cyanobium). Here we show that metabarcoding is a powerful tool to capture elusive species and the relative abundance of bloom forming taxa. One drawback to metabarcoding is that it does not capture absolute abundance and therefore may not correlate strongly to chlorophyll-α and secchi disk transparency. Targeted qPCR methods offer a promising way to quantify cell density that might better correspond to common measures of water quality.

29. The Characterization of Maine-Based Residual Biochar for the Use of Wild Blueberry Crops

Abigayl Novak (student)1, Jessica Hutchinson (student)2, Ling Li1

  1. School of Forest Resources, University of Maine, Orono, ME
  2. School of Food and Agriculture, University of Maine, Orono, ME

Biochar has been an extensively studied sustainable soil amendment for several decades. It has porous structure, relatively large surface area, multiple functional groups (e.g.-COOH group), and abundant mineral elements. These attributes make biochar an excellent soil addition, which can retain water in the soil, delay nutrients leaching from the soil, modify pH, improve ventilation and permeability of the soil, and immobilize heavy metals. The effects of biochar additions on improvement of water and nutrient retention capacity of sandy soil are significantly greater than other soil types. A high pH of raw biochar (9<pH<11) results in lower acidity of the sandy soil in wild blueberry fields, which is not favorable for crop growth. This study aimed to investigate the characteristics of biochar to evaluate if it can be amended into the sandy soil to improve the water retention and wild blueberry plants’ resilience to drought, without altering the pH of the soil. Woody biochar produced using local forestry biomass as a byproduct of uncompleted biomass combustion was studied due to the abundance of forest resources in Maine. Properties such as, bulk density, porosity, surface area, pH, water holding capacity, and nutrient retention were measured. A neutralization/acidification pretreatment process was studied to modify the pH of raw biochar. Results revealed Maine based residual biochar has the ability to increase water holding capacity and nutrient retention. The pH of biochar was decreased to 7 or less after dissolving about 60% of metal salts in the biochar using various concentrations of weak acids.

30. Improving Coastal Water Quality Monitoring and Decision-Making Through Rapid, Simple Field Testing

Casey Schatzabel (student), Kettie Rose Cormier (student)
Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Maine, Orono, ME

There is a need for field-deployable methods that can quickly detect fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) to assess the safety of drinking water sources, recreational waters, and seafood harvests. Water quality has traditionally been monitored using bacterial culture-based methods, which is a time-consuming process (Jiang, 2018). Newer molecular diagnostic methods, such as PCR-amplification, require specially-trained lab workers and expensive equipment (Zhu, 2021). The goal of this research is to use LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification)-based technology to develop a quicker, easier, and less expensive field-based detection method that does not require specialized equipment. A further goal is to minimize the waste produced in using this test method. The best testing protocol depends on the goals of the user, but all methods consist of three steps: sampling/concentration, extraction/preparation, and detection. Two concentration steps will be assessed in this work: grab sample filtration and passive sampling. Simple heat treatment will be compared to field-manageable extraction methods, such as paramagnetic bead or column-based nucleic acid purification, for sample preparation. The LAMP detection step will be optimized for the required level of sensitivity for specific users. The results will be compared in terms of cost, time, materials, compatibility, waste generation and ease of use. Appropriate workflows for concentration, extraction and detection of E. coli will be identified for users who prioritize different factors, such as location of testing, cost or sensitivity. These workflows may generate more efficient monitoring techniques for regulatory bodies, municipalities, aquaculture operations, and off-grid system management.

31. Assessing key political, economic, and social capital attributes supporting resilience of transitioning mill towns – Bucksport, Maine and Samoa Peninsula Region, California

Gabrielle Sherman (student)1,2, Cynthia L. Houston (student)2,3

  1. School of Forest Resources, University of Maine, Orono, ME
  2. NSF Natural Resources Conservation Science Traineeship, University of Maine, Orono, ME
  3. Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Maine, Orono, ME

Rural communities across the United States have long sustained close ties to forest product industries for local job market generation and community development. As markets for wood products continue to face significant changes in global demand, the viability of many small to medium scale timber processing operations has diminished, leading to a growing trend of mill closures and rural economic hardship. The ability of these communities to organize, plan, and recover from the loss of revenues and employment incurred by such closures may depend on innate qualities of resilience and adaptability. In order to gain an understanding of the drivers of community response, two former paper mill sites in Bucksport, ME and the Samoa Peninsula region of California serve as cases in an examination of development drivers during periods of socio-economic transition. A series of interviews conducted with key community members were collected and analyzed in order to identify the development trajectory of these sites and the extent to which pre-existing qualities of resilience bolstered response capacities. Content analysis reveals both the similarities and differences in experience as described by community planners within both study sites, with factors such as strong social bonding and organized economic restructuring contributing to instances of success, while persistent uncertainty and conflict stemming from state and federal regulation presented as barriers to progress. Through this preliminary examination, better insight into community adaptation in the face of disruption is derived.

32. A phenomenological analysis of conservation practitioners’ experiences in decision-making

Alyssa Soucy (student)1, Sandra De Urioste-Stone1, Parinaz Rahimzadeh-Bajgiran1, Jessica Jansujwicz2, Matthew Brownlee3, Karla Eitel4

  1. School of Forest Resources, University of Maine, Orono, ME
  2. Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology, Orono, ME
  3. Clemson University, Clemson, SC
  4. University of Idaho, Moscow, ID

Decisions regarding conservation and stewardship are dependent upon shifting cultural values related to perceptions of environmental change, historic and ecological integrity, and the values humans embed in landscapes. There is currently a lack of theoretical and conceptual development regarding conservation managers’ perceptions of goal-setting and ecosystem change and its resulting impact on conservation planning. We used an interpretative phenomenological approach to understand conservation and stewardship practioners’ experiences around selecting priorities and the collaborative process of decision-making. We conducted approximately 20 semi-structured interviews with individuals from non-profits, government and state agencies, forest industry companies, and indigenous tribes in Maine, USA. We analyzed the data for emergent patterns and themes to highlight the diversity and similarity of views and experiences around decision-making. Engaging with the public via a variety of strategies to both foster connections to the environment, and involve communities in decision-making, emerged as a key idea. Additionally we found that individuals bring to their position their own values and orientations which become embedded within the organization’s priorities in unique ways. Competing views of conservation and stewardship also exist in regards to the role of active management, public participation, and balancing recreation and ecology in management. Implications for collaboration and conflict within the area of conservation and stewardship are discussed.

33. Scientific fact enriched risk amplification and testing for the promotion of pro-environmental behaviors, stormwater contamination risk, and environmental policy advancement in the State of Michigan

Sandaruwan Subasinghe (student), Rahul Mitra
Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

Climate change (CC) is galloping towards catastrophe. Urban dwellers in Michigan are highly vulnerable to CC impacts, flooding, and stormwater contamination that carry an interconnected risk. Effective messaging techniques are frequently sought to harness the efficacy of communication to induce pro-environmental behaviors, risk perception, and support for policy change. This study aims to identify what combinations of risk amplified vs. no risk amplified and scientific facts vs. no scientific fact enriched message framing effectively promote pro-environmental behaviors, policy support, estimation of risk perception, and their interaction effects. This abstract presents the study’s proposed methodology. A 2×2×3 between and within the subject factorial experiment is designed to test hypotheses and research questions. Subjective knowledge of CC, flooding, and stormwater contamination are mediating variables, whereas media consumption, political orientation, and demographic variables are covariates of the model. Andrew Hayes PROCESS model 5 is used on SPSS version 27 with suitable applications of R studio for data analysis. Experimental message conditions are developed based on newspaper article extracts with appropriate modifications for location and the topics. A pilot study is run with students at Wayne State University to adjust research instruments and validation purposes. A Qualtrics survey (N=400) is used to collect data from CC, flooding, and stormwater contamination victims in the State of Michigan.

34. Quantifying the Carbon Sequestration and Economic Potential of Natural Climate Solutions from Maine’s Working Forests

Logan Woodyard (student), Adam Daigneault
University of Maine, Orono, ME

Maine has one of the largest state carbon sinks by forests, sequestering 8-10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually (MMtCO2e/year) over the past decade. This is equivalent to removing between 40-60% of the state’s gross GHG emissions, paving the way for Maine to achieve an ambitious climate action plan. Existing research generally supports the notion that GHG mitigation through forest management is a cost effective way to mitigate climate change in the Northeastern US. However, states like Maine require an in-depth investigation by way of integrating biophysical and socioeconomic tactics. Changes in forest sequestration depend on more than forest management, but on the complex relationships between forest dynamics and socioeconomic factors such as the demand for wood products and the price of carbon. Our paper builds off of the 2020 Daigneault et al. Maine Natural Climate Solutions Report by developing a dynamic, statewide integrated forest sector model using FVS and Woodstock that identifies specific cost-effective forest management practices with respect to management costs, opportunity costs, and harvesting revenues. This integrated modeling approach will develop a more precise forecast of forest growth, allowing us to determine the carbon price or policy incentive that minimizes the societal cost of increasing mitigation levels in line with the state’s GHG mitigation goals. We estimate that the state’s forests can sequester up to 12.5 MtCO2e/yr over the next 30 years, thereby achieving 75% of the state’s net zero target at a cost of $30 million per year or $12/tCO2e.

Professional Poster Abstracts

35. Land-sea connections of coastal places, people, and science in Maine

Sean Smith1,3, Lauren Ross2,3, Bea Van Dam1, Taylor Bailey2

  1. School of Earth and Climate Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, ME
  2. Depat. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Maine, Orono, ME
  3. Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, University of Maine, Orono, ME

A challenge of coastal pollution management is the development, delivery and application of scientific knowledge and information related to land-sea connections to stakeholders that interpret observations of coastal events and outcomes from biophysical research in different ways. Problems confronting shellfishing communities often relate to the sources, delivery, and residence time of rainfall runoff and associated pollutants. Estuary responses to pollution events are influenced by geomorphology and human activities, with some problems caused by elevated source contributions and efficient pollutant delivery from watersheds, others influenced by estuary flushing times, and co-occurring problems under conditions governed by tides and seasonal runoff patterns. Scientists and stakeholders have the task of designing approaches for adapting knowledge from research into management actions with consideration of unique attributes in coastal settings and scenarios at moments in time. Our ongoing research focuses on these socio-biophysical dynamics of coastal pollution with a goal of providing tools to help make science-based decisions to address impaired estuary water quality conditions, implement closures of shellfish harvesting areas, and strategize monitoring resources for management purposes. Here we provide an overview of our strides towards co-producing knowledge for sustainability solutions that will provide better predictions of water quality conditions in estuaries and new forms of information, data sources, and tools to help coastal resource managers and communities respond to pollution problems.