UMSS23 Student Profile: Nicholas Tiner

For Nicholas Tiner, getting involved in research at UMaine “presented an opportunity to make a positive difference, even if just a small one.” He received a Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) Fellowship award for summer 2022, saying “a lot of CUGR recipients work on projects that strive to make the world a bit better. […] Getting to spend a summer doing research is a unique experience and one I haven’t taken for granted.”

Tiner’s area of research focuses on two gyres, large circulation patterns of water, located in Frenchman Bay. Tiner says these gyres “may very well influence the accumulation of microplastics and harmful algal blooms, which can harm wildlife and people,” citing a 2016 bloom of toxic Pseudo-nitzschia which caused shutdowns in the shellfish industry.

Tiner took water samples and used probes to measure data points, which will improve understanding of how the gyres form and if they play a role in furthering aggregating toxic particulates. His hope is that his work will be “a small facet of a greater effort to protect the wildlife and livelihood of all those who live in and on Frenchman Bay.”

Tiner credits his faculty mentor, Dr. Lauren Ross, and doctoral student, Taylor Bailey, with his research success. “Both are not only extremely helpful in regards to their deep expertise on topics of coastal and environmental engineering, but also on how to approach the world of research.” Grateful for his exposure to research, Tiner said it was “an excellent chance to gain a panoply of writing, technical and academic skills, while also satiating my curiosity. Regardless of what I do with my degree, the skills I am developing doing this research will make me a stronger engineer and scientist.”