University of Maine doctoral student Skylar Bayer, aka “The Lonely Lady Scientist” among fans of “The Colbert Report,” was quoted in a Slate article titled, “Stephen Colbert is the Best Source of Science on TV.” Article author David Shiffman, a University of Miami doctoral student, said he hoped Colbert would continue to showcase scientists when he succeeds David Letterman as host of “The Late Show.” Bayer told Shiffman that Colbert’s method of using humor and sarcasm to explain science is effective. After she played the Colbert segment in which she appeared to high school students, she asked them for their impressions. “I asked them what they thought about scientists afterwards. They said I seemed pretty normal,” she said. “I asked them if they learned anything about scallop reproduction. They said they got that it was important to the fishery. Getting some high-schoolers to get those two pieces of information out of a TV segment while laughing hysterically is a huge accomplishment.”
James McCleave, a University of Maine professor emeritus of marine sciences and a leading expert on eels, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for an article about Maine’s elver industry. McCleave, who has spent the last 40 years studying eels, said he has seen eels go from being considered a food source for humans, to fish bait, and now an expensive export while in their early stages as elvers. McCleave also spoke about the “muddy” flavor of wild eels. He said the eels’ natural fattiness makes it easy for them to retain toxins. “Eels in the wild that are 10 years old have been out there collecting nasties for 10 years,” he said.
Ian Dickey, MD, FRCSC, lead physician of Eastern Maine Medical Center’s orthopedic surgical specialists, has been invited to serve as the first chair of the University of Maine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering’s new external advisory board, EMMC announced.
UMaine established the school in 2006 as a collaborative effort between the university, The Jackson Laboratory, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, University of Southern Maine and University of New England. About 40 Ph.D. students and 100 faculty members are currently involved with the school, researching molecular and cellular biology, neuroscience, biomedical engineering, toxicology and functional genomics.
“To move to the next stage, the program needs the advice of a high-powered, knowledgeable external advisory board,” said David Neivandt, director of the UMaine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering. “This board, with Dr. Dickey’s leadership, will provide external counsel and perspective regarding scientific direction and curricula, assist in identifying and securing external funding, aid in networking for students and faculty, and serve as an advocacy role both internal and external to the university.”
The full EMMC news release is online.
The Portland Press Herald and WVII (Channel 7) reported on the University of Maine Pulp and Paper Foundation’s 64th annual Paper Days held at UMaine. The event brought together UMaine students, faculty and professionals in the pulp and paper industry to discuss how to better prepare students for careers in the field. Carrie Enos, president of the University of Maine Pulp and Paper Foundation, said for the past three years, the foundation has placed 100 percent of its scholarship students in jobs after graduation. “One of our goals is to expand our outreach and help people understand that the paper industry is vibrant. There is still significant demand for people to fill jobs in the industry,” Enos said. Nicholas Hart, a UMaine senior studying chemical engineering, told WVII Paper Days is a great networking opportunity and recommends the event to other students.
The Free Press reported on the upcoming symposium, “Maine and The Mortal Sea: Taking Stock of the Past, Present and Future of Our Living Sea,” to be held at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center (DMC) in Walpole on Saturday, April 26. Fishermen, historians, marine scientists, authors, students, economists and fisheries managers are expected to gather at the interdisciplinary event that is based on the award-winning book, “The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail,” by University of New Hampshire historian W. Jeffrey Bolster.
More than 100 presentations were made made during the 2014 Graduate Academic Exposition (GradExpo) in separate categories of four areas of competition — poster presentations, oral presentations, intermedia and fine arts exhibits, and a PechaKucha, or rapid-fire slide show event — as well as a graduate student photo contest.
About $15,000 worth of prize money was awarded at this year’s expo, including the $2,000 President’s Research Impact Award given to the graduate student and adviser who best exemplify the UMaine mission of teaching, research and outreach.
Following are the winning presentations:
President’s Research Impact Award — Spencer Meyer and advisers Rob Lilieholm and Chris Cronan
Innovation Award — Spencer Meyer
Provost’s Innovative/Creative Teaching Award — Rebecca White, first; John Bell, second; and Matthew McEntee, third
Graduate Dean’s Undergraduate Mentoring Award — Brittany Cline, first; Agnes Taylor, second; and Kara Lorion, third
Graduate Student Video Award — Hari Prasath Palani
UMaine Alumni Association Alum Award — Lauren Thornbrough
Graduate Student Photo Contest, Graduate Student Life Category — Eva Manandhar, first; Brett Lerner, second; and Corey Cole, third
Graduate Student Photo Contest, Graduate Student Research Category — Amy Pierce, first; Timothy Godaire, second; and Robin Arnold, third
PechaKucha — Theodore Wilhite, first; Amy Pierce, second; and John Bell, third
Intermedia — Julie Riley, first; Amy Pierce, second; and Jessica LeClair, third
Arts and Humanities Oral Competition — Rebecca White, first; Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed, second; and Ian Jesse, third
Arts and Humanities Poster Competition — Hari Prasath Palani, first; John Bell, second; and Bethany Engstrom, third
Natural Sciences Oral Competition — Brianna Hughes, first; Anna Breard, second; and Maureen Correll, third
Natural Sciences Poster Competition — Luke Groff, first; Donna Kalteyer, second; and Julia McGuire, third
Physical Sciences and Technology Oral Competition — Mojtaba Razfar, first; Panduka Piyaratne, second; and Silas Owusu-Nkwantabisah, third
Physical Sciences and Technology Poster Competition — David Pearson, first; Supamon Singkankachen, second; and Merida Batiste, third
Social Sciences Oral Competition — Hollie Smith, first; Kourtney Collum, second; and Addie Pelletier
Social Sciences Poster Competition — Theodora Ruhs, first; Tyler Quiring, second; and Steven Hutchinson, third
About 75 students from the University of Maine, University of Massachusetts, Penn State, Rutgers and Cornell are expected to gather at the UMaine campus April 11–12 for the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association’s (IFTSA) North Atlantic Area Meeting.
The event brings together students from food science departments in the North Atlantic area, and provides them with updates and information from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and its student association.
The meeting also serves as a food science trivia contest among the five universities. The winning institution of the North Atlantic Area College Bowl Competition will advance to the finals at the IFT Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La. in June.
Mary Ellen Camire, president-elect of IFT and professor of food science and human nutrition at UMaine, will speak at the regional meeting’s welcome dinner on April 11.
For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact UMaine student Kaitlyn Feeney on FirstClass.
The Bangor Daily News, Denton Record Chronicle and Lewisville Leader reported University of Maine Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Janet Waldron will resign to join the University of North Texas (UNT) System as vice chancellor of finance, effective April 28. In a prepared statement, Waldron said the decision “has come with deeply mixed emotions as I care for and respect President Ferguson, his vision and our successful partnership at UMaine.” UMaine professors Robert Rice, a professor of wood science, and Howard Segal, a history professor, spoke to the BDN about Waldron. “She has risen to be, at least in my experience here, the most competent of CFOs we’ve ever had. She has worked tirelessly to help the university through some of the most challenging times we’ve had, including the current one,” Rice said. Segal said Waldron is “extremely well respected on campus not only for her exceptional expertise in finances overall, but also for her ability to find sources of funds for various campus needs that might have been missed by less capable persons.” Waldron has led UMaine’s Office of Administration and Finance for 11 years.
Third-year marine sciences major Ian Jones of Canton, Conn., is studying how ocean acidification impacts lobster larvae, an important resource for the Maine economy.
Jones works with American lobsters raised at UMaine’s Aquaculture Research Center (ARC). The lobster larvae were raised last summer at various pH levels, replicating natural environments and the impact of ocean acidification. Jones weighed and photographed approximately 700 lobster larvae to monitor their growth in these different environments. The hypothesis: slower growth and more irregular development occur at lower pH. This creates adaptation problems for lobsters dealing with increased environmental CO2 levels.
“We will certainly see greater ocean acidification in the future as an effect of climate change. As atmospheric levels of CO2 continue to increase from human input, so do the CO2 levels of the upper ocean,” says Jones.
Along with lobster larvae, Jones also monitored seahorses in Tim Bowden’s lab. The seahorses, which were dealing with a mycobacterial infection, were in the care of Jones while an antibiotic treatment was created. He also raised juvenile seahorses last year. Through this experience, Jones learned about seahorse aquaculture, proper feeding protocols, tank chemistry and more.
“Not much is known about seahorse aquaculture relative to raising other fish, so although information on raising newborns was limited, it was a fun challenge figuring out our own system that worked.”
This fall, Jones will travel to the Darling Marine Center on the Damariscotta River, where he and other UMaine students will further the hands-on work they do in the classroom through the Semester By the Sea program.
Jones plans to attend graduate school to study sensory biology and/or the effect of climate change on marine animals.
Why is your lobster research important?
Research on American lobster growth at lowered pH is incredibly important first, because there has been little climate change study on this particular species and second, any slowing or other adverse effects on lobster growth could have serious impacts on the health of the lobster fishery, which Maine, of course, greatly depends on. Delayed lobster larvae development means it will take longer for lobsters to get to market size, and predation risk may increase as well, causing fewer individuals to grow into adults and lowering the overall abundance of adult lobsters. Changes in lobster abundance can in turn upset ecosystem balance by changing the abundance of organisms that depend on lobster as prey and organisms lobsters prey on. These trophic cascades have the power to reduce the presence of many species in addition to just the lobster, consequently reducing biodiversity.
Are you excited about heading to the Darling Marine Center in the fall?
I am really excited to be able to SCUBA dive in the area on the weekends; there is a dive locker on campus. I’m also excited for many of the courses offered this fall, such as the scientific diving course and the marine invertebrate biology course. I look forward to the seminar class, which teaches students how to tackle job interviews and graduate school applications for pursuing a career post graduation. Generally, I look forward to interacting with the marine environment on a near daily basis as I learn more about it and gain skills for marine research.
Why did you choose UMaine?
My primary reason for choosing UMaine was their excellent marine science program, which was more attractive than those at other colleges due to its emphasis on hands-on experience, such as through their Semester by the Sea program, expert faculty and it covers fundamentals of marine biology, chemistry and physics, not just the area you choose to concentrate in. Also driving me to UMaine were the strong nondiscriminatory policies and minority services on campus, making me confident that I can be myself at UMaine and face minimal to no prejudice, especially from faculty and administrators.
Have you worked closely with a mentor, professor or role model who has made your UMaine experience better, if so how?
Working with Tim Bowden has greatly improved my experience here, and the opportunities he’s granted me to assist with seahorse aquaculture and lobster larvae research have not only been very enjoyable but have helped define my research interests and add to my qualifications for future research experience. Additionally, his constructive feedback on my performance in his lab has allowed me to improve as a researcher.
What difference has UMaine made in your life, helping you reach your goals?
My professors at UMaine have made a major impact on what it means to have a career in science and beyond. They share advice on the mentality, skills and process necessary toward being successful in particular research fields. Also, the abundance of research facilities here, such as the Aquaculture Research Center, has allowed me to build a lot of hands-on experience that I can apply to future positions in marine biological research.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
I advise students to get involved with at least a couple student organizations that suit their interests. There’s a club for almost anything you could think of, from fencing to SCUBA diving to various political, academic and religious and social groups. Also I recommend science students look for work in a faculty member’s lab as soon as possible, even if it’s just volunteer work. You don’t need to know what your interests are yet, but any research and lab experience gained early can really help you in the long run. Just ask around.
What is your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place is the Littlefield Garden on the north end of campus. The garden is especially nice to study in, or to just hang out and have a picnic at — given warm weather of course.
Have you had an experience at UMaine that has shaped the way you see the world?
Unrelated to marine science, I took the Intro to LGBT studies course offered by the Women’s, Sexuality and Gender Studies department, which vastly increased my understanding of the complexity of the LGBT community. I knew a fair amount about LGBT culture and identities going into the course but I did not realize how much I didn’t know until taking the class. For example, I didn’t know that there is opposition to same-sex marriage within members of the LGBT community and that historically there has been plenty of conflict of interest between feminist and lesbian organizations, as well as lesbian and gay people who have spearheaded “LGBT” movements that often leave the B (bisexual) and T (transgender) out of the equation. I now view the LGBT community differently than before, recognizing that people won’t always get along or share common goals just because they all belong to a minority. I also better understand the importance of full inclusiveness in LGBT organizations, due the diversity and intersectionalities with race, class, etc., of LGBT people.
Alper Kiziltas, a doctoral student in the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources, was featured in a Soy Biobased Products article titled “Ford interns drive sustainability.” Soy Biobased Products is a website run by the United Soybean Board (USB) — a farmer-led, famer-funded organization that invests in research, development and promotion of soy. The article focused on Kiziltas’ work as an intern at Ford Motor Co. where he worked on expanding the use of soy in vehicles by incorporating various types of nanofillers into soy-based foams. “By using soy-based materials, Ford is able to lessen its environmental impact, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and cut CO2 emissions,” Kiziltas said.