From the tip of Cape Cod to Isles of Shoals to Bon Portage Island in Nova Scotia biological and marine science field stations dot the coast of the Gulf of Maine. These may be weather-beaten seasonal rustic facilities, state-of-the-art, or something in between but all are dedicated to understanding our little patch of the Earth and the rapid change it is experiencing.
Here in early March in Maine, we are starting to get a bit of respite from the long nights, short days and bitter winds of winter. The sun shines more directly, puddles form in driveways and along the roadsides, and the voices of streams can be heard as the snowmelt begins. You may even have some greenery sprouting up on the windowsill, in a peat pot or paper cup. Things are happening.
Today, Maine’s aquaculture industry includes many fishermen who are using aquaculture to diversify their incomes. There’s a lot to know however, when entering the aquaculture industry, and since 2013, the Aquaculture in Shared Waters program has provided training, technical support and networking for commercial fishermen and members of fishing families who are interested in diversifying their incomes. The course is offered by University of Maine Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension, Maine Aquaculture Association, Coastal Enterprises, Inc., and Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, and the 2017 class is forming now, to be held in Ellsworth.
Maine Sea Grant's biennial wall calendars are here!
All of us at Maine Sea Grant are mourning the loss of several members of Maine’s environmental science community. Bigelow Laboratory Executive Director Graham Shimmield, who helped guide our programming through his participation on our Policy Advisory Committee, passed away in December. We also will miss Bill Townsend, a longtime advocate for clean water and protector of Maine rivers; Brian Robinson, Sea Grant researcher and archaeologist who helped expand our understanding of the human history of the coastal landscape; and Gordon Hamilton, a researcher with the UMaine Climate Change Institute. Our condolences to their families, friends, and colleagues.
With the turn of the year, we've been reflecting back on the centennial of Acadia National Park and the National Park Service.
As the Sea Grant extension associate who covers Maine’s deep south, I collaborate routinely with my partners on the other side of the border – New Hampshire. One such partnership is with University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension’s Community Development specialists.
Two-thousand sixteen marked the 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park and America’s National Park System.
NOTE: This blog was written by Skylar Bayer, a graduate student at the University of Maine, working on a Sea Grant-funded project with Dr. Rick Wahle of University of Maine, and Dr. Pete Countway of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.
This year’s foliage was the most stunning and prolonged display of color in recent memory, a vibrant progression of crimson, orange, gold, and russet that went on for weeks and weeks. While the drought certainly had something to do with it, warming temperatures are also responsible for later peaks in fall foliage.
November is National Native American Heritage Month, a time to recognize “the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the United States.” On Thanksgiving, we come together in shared humanity and celebration of the lands and waters that sustain us. The original residents of the continent accommodated European colonists, shared their knowledge of where to find food and shelter. They ate together—Homo sapiens trying to survive in the same landscape.
Our Director for Research, Dr. Damian Brady published a paper along with Dr. Robert Steneck and former graduate student, Jennifer McHenry (lead author) titled, Abiotic proxies for predictive mapping of near-shore benthic assemblages: Implications for marine spatial planning. In this paper researchers identified important habitat variables and spatial gradients that correlate with abundance, diversity, and commercial value of species assemblages in the Gulf of Maine using a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV).
Between the head of tide above Bangor to where it widens into the bay at Searsport, the Penobscot River shifts from a flowing freshwater waterway banked by cedar and pine to a brackish, wave-lapped marsh with a rocky shoreline. In this estuary, salt concentrations fluctuate as the winds and tides push sea water and sediments back and forth.
This year I had the privilege to travel to the Netherlands as part of my sabbatical research on the topic of stakeholder engagement in community planning for flood defense. The process included interviews with 15 Dutch practitioners from all levels of government, as well as private contractors, community groups and non-profit organizations. The result was 23 hours of audio recordings for me to work through in search of common themes.
Effects of temperature and ocean acidification on larval lobster development – UMaine graduate student, Jesica Waller, along with Dr. Rick Wahle and colleagues published a paper on the joint effects of ocean acidification and rising temperature on larval lobster development. Their results suggest that elevated temperatures associated with projected end-century warming trends cause larvae to develop faster but also induce physiological stress, leading to increased mortality rates.