Comments are closed.

Holberton Research Featured in SeacoastOnline Article

SeacoastOnline published an article titled “Groundbreaking bird study under way in southern Maine,” featuring the research of School of Biology and Ecology professor, Dr. Rebecca Holberton, and SBE grad student, Sean Rune. The research on shorebird migration is a collaboration between Holberton and Rune, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The full store can be read here at

Remembering Dr. Bill Glanz

Dear Colleagues in the University of Maine Community and Beyond,

We were very saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Bill Glanz, associate professor in the School of Biology and Ecology (SBE) and Cooperating faculty in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Conservation Biology (WLE). Bill passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on June 14, 2014 in San Diego, CA.

Click here to view Bill’s obituary, which highlights a life well traveled.

As many of you know, Bill was an outstanding teacher and mentor during his 34 years on the UMaine faculty. He continued to share his passion and expertise in natural history, birds, and mammals with students, colleagues and the public up to his departure from campus and Maine this past November. We are comforted by the wonderful memories of Bill as a gifted teacher and scientist, naturalist, and valued friend. For those of you who would like some way to express your condolences to the family and/or contribute to Bill’s remembrance, you are welcome to join in the following:

1. Cards, notes, and remembrances are being collected by the SBE office to pass along to the family. We would like to have all materials collected by July 11.

2. We are also collecting contributions for the Orono Boardwalk. Please see the description of the gift below that was provided by Jim Bird. (Bill’s daughter wished to support the Boardwalk given Bill’s dedication to it). Checks should be made payable to : The University of Maine Foundation, bog campaign Glanz in the memo line.


Bill Glanz was a strong supporter of the Orono Bog Boardwalk. He helped build the Boardwalk and from 2004 to 2013 during the first weekend in May he led (or co-led) a very popular morning migratory bird walk in the Rolland F. Perry City Forest and on the Boardwalk. He would take his students to the Boardwalk to teach them about the natural history of a northern peat bog. In honor of Bill we want to collect funds ($1,000+) so that we can sponsor a new Boardwalk section in his name. The new section will be put in next year during Phase 2 of the Boardwalk reconstruction. It will be in an area that Bill would visit to view the annually returning spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis). (Jim Bird)

Contributions to the Boardwalk, and letters, cards, and remembrances may be left with Sue Anderson in SBE (100 Murray Hall) or Katherine Goodine in WLE (210 Nutting Hall).

SBE Professor Brian McGill Published in Science Magazine

Dr. Brian McGill, assistant professor of biological sciences, recently co-published a comprehensive analysis of global biodiversity change and species loss in Science magazine.  Maria Dornelas and Anne Magurran of the Centre lead the international research team for Biological Diversity and Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

The analysis used data from 100 monitoring studies in which scientists from around the world tracked the biodiversity of plant and animal communities over many years. The compiled data consist of over 6 million observations for over 35,000 species monitored in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine habitats from the poles to the equator.

The study brought to light two key results. First, there was neither a systematic loss nor a systematic gain in the number of species recorded through time, with 59 communities showing an increase in species richness through time and 41 communities showed a decrease. The measured rate of change was small in most studies. The second finding the paper concluded was that that 79 of the 100 communities showed substantial changes in species composition, measured relative to the baseline of the first available survey of the community.

The group plans on doing some follow-up experiments in order to see what is actually happening, specifically looking at what species are coming in and coming out using the data that was already collected.  ”It was a surprise,” said McGill. “I always think it’s fun when you expect one thing and get the opposite.  There is very good evidence that globally we are losing species a lot faster than new species are being created.  We expected that to carry down to the local scales…and the fact that it didn’t was a big surprise.”

Although global extinctions and declines of many species have been well documented, these results suggest that simple counts of species richness in a small area may not show consistent downward trends. However, the set of species living in these same small areas has changed substantially over relatively short time scales of years to decades.

The study found that there has been a change through time in the identity of species, but not, on average, in the number of species recorded in these monitoring studies. Species composition changed more often than species number, and these kinds of changes should be focused on for future study.


SBE Offering Schoodic Experience Scholarship

Applications are being accepted for the 2014 Schoodic Experience Scholarship. The deadline is June 27, 2014.

Click here to download the 2014 Schoodic Scholarship Application

The Schoodic excursion is part of the School of Biology and Ecology’s biological sciences orientation course (NFA 117). This course introduces students to their major and informs them about important academic and other resources that are available on campus.  All first-year students in the biological sciences (BIO, BOT, ZOL, and CLS majors) take this course, with most students opting to attend the multi-day event at the Schoodic Education and Research Center, part of Acadia National Park, located on the coast of Maine.

While at Schoodic, students meet and become good friends with other biological science students, attend faculty-led outdoor workshops, visit research facilities, and explore what the coast has to offer in, and around, Acadia National Park. The relationships, and sense of community, that stem from the science-related activities carry-on as positive energy throughout the student’s time at UMaine. This allows students to feel at home in the School of Biology and Ecology as soon as their first week begins, and provides a lasting network of support as they pursue their undergraduate degree.

Find out more about Schoodic here.

SBE Student Named America East Women’s Basketball Student-Athlete of the Year!


Congratulations to School of Biology & Ecology student, Elizabeth Wood, for being named the America East Women’s Basketball Student-Athlete of the Year!

Wood is a sophomore at the University of Maine, studying biology with a concentration in pre-medical studies.  She was recently awarded a SBE academic award for receiving one of the highest GPA’s in her major.  Wood is a member of the honors college, and currently holds a 3.93 grade point average.

Wood was also awarded a UMaine Scholarship Athlete Bronze Medallion for achieving a 3.0 or better GPA for the second year in a row.

According to The Bangor Daily news, Wood averaged 12.6 points and led the team with 6.7 rebounds during the year to go along with 2.8 assists and 2.1 steals while shooting 43.7 percent from the floor and 31.7 percent from 3-point range.

2014 SBE Graduate & Faculty Awards!

It has been a busy year for SBE graduate students and faculty!

Graduate student awards:

Gabriel Al-Najjar, MS in ZOO (Entomology) with Dr. Frank Drummond and me, was awarded a UMaine IPM Grad student grant for his work on spotted wing drosophila.

Matthew Altenritter, a PhD in BioSci working with Dr. Mike Kinnison, was awarded an Inez Boyd Environmental Research Award from the Penobscot Valley Chapter of the Maine Audubon Society.

Alex Bajcz, PhD student in EES with Dr. Frank Drummond, was awarded a Chase Distinguished Research Assistantship (CDRA).

Lee Beers, PhD Student in BIO (Plant Sciences) with Dr. Frank Drummond, was awarded a $150K grant on blueberry genetics from NIFA.

Kalyn Bickerman, PhD student in EES, was awarded a $12K grad student grant on bumble bee health from USDA/SARE program.

Myles Butler, MS student in BTP, was awarded the Sarah JW Spruce Memorial Scholarship for Plant Pathology.

Corey Cole, MS student in ZOO won 3rd place in the Grad Photography Awards category at the Grad Expo.

 Mo Correll, PhD student in EES with Dr. Brian Olsen,  received 3rd place for her oral presentation at the Grad Expo this spring.

Dulcinea Groff, PhD student in EES with Dr. Jacquelyn Gill, received a competitive scholarship to attend ISOCAMP, and was accepted into the IGERT program.

Jen Lund, MS student in entomology with Dr. Groden, was awarded the College of NSFA Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Service this evening.

 Spencer Meyer, PhD in Forest Resources co-advised by Drs. Chris Cronan and Rob Lilieholm, received the NSFA Outstanding Graduate Student, President’s Research Impact Award, and the Grad Expo UMaine Innovation Award.

 Kaitlyn ODonnell, a MS student in Entomology with Dr. Groden, received 1st place for her presentation in Gerald N. Lanier student forum, Northeast Forest Pest Council Conference in Quebec City last month, and will be awarded the DeBoo scholarship for forest entomology.

Kate Ruskin, a PhD student in EES working with Dr. Brian Olsen, received 1st place in the student presentation awards at the Borns’ Symposium in CCI this spring.

Sean Rune, a MS student in EES working with Dr. Becky Holberton, received a grant award from the Eastern Maine Conservation Initiative for his project “Using Automated VHF Telemetry to Study Shorebird Migratory Behavior and Habitat Use in Eastern Maine Estuaries.”

Corianne Tatariw, a PhD student in EES working with Dr. Kevin Simon, received the Dr. Miroslaw M. Czapowskyj Scholarship from FSA.


Distinguished Faculty Awards:

             Mike Kinnison was honored by the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture Teaching Excellence Award.



Mary Tyler was recognized this semester with an ADVANCE Career Recognition Award.


School of Biology and Ecology’s Seventh Annual Awards Ceremony!

On April 25th, The School of Biology & Ecology held their seventh annual award’s ceremony in 102 Murray Hall, which recognized undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty, for their hard work and commitment to their academic endeavors.  During the ceremony, Dr. Ellie Groden, director of the School of Biology & Ecology, and Dr. Christa Schwintzer, presented student awards, prizes, and scholarships to the recipients

SBE Academic Awards, which are given to students with the highest GPA in a major within the School, were given to the following recipients:

First Year

 Nicole B. Keefner

Danielle Li

Haley K. Netherton


 Victoria L. Gagnon

Elizabeth E. Wood

Anne Yu


 James M. Poulin


 Eric L. Bolduc

Emily E. Stevens

SBE undergraduate student, James Poulin, receiving his academic award.

School of Biology & Ecology Academic Achievement Award: Awarded to the graduating senior having the highest GPA

Jinlun Bai

Richard C. Wadsworth Annual Memorial Prize: Awarded to the highest-ranking junior or senior enrolled in the CLS program

Lauren H. Hain

Dahl-Chase Pathology Associates Medical Technology Scholarship: Awarded to an outstanding CLS student who attended a Maine High School

Todd A. Nicholas

Frank H. Lathrop Scholarship: Awarded to high achieving juniors and continuing seniors who are Maine residents majoring in Biological Sciences.

Alexandra J. Perry

Andrew A. Vetter

Andrew B. Wilson

Wayland A. Shands Scholarship Fund: Awarded to a student of Entomology with high academic standing

Eric M. Veitch

Auburn E. and Lurana C. Brower Scholarship: Awarded to an outstanding junior with an interest in Entomology

Hillary Morin

Clarence Cook Little Scholarship: Awarded to a student of high academic achievement with an interest in genetics.

Courtney A. Horton

Fay Hyland-Hilborn Prize in Plant Biology: Awarded to the outstanding graduate student in Plant Biology or Plant Pathology

Ai Kitazumi

Graduate Prize in Animal Biology: Awarded to the outstanding graduate student in Animal Biology

Jennifer McCabe

Edith M. Patch-Frank H. Lathrop Prize in Entomology

Jennifer Lund

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

Zachary A. Batz

Jonathan Dumont

SBE Graduate Student Travel Award

Jared Homola

Matthew Altenritter

Congratulation to all award recipients!


Aleksandra Beric Receives Competitive Research Internship in Japan

UMaine exchange student, Aleksandra Beric, excels in the field of Genetics

Aleksandra Beric, a third-year molecular biology exchange student from the University of Belgrade in Serbia, recently received an internship at the National Institute of Genetics in Japan for this upcoming summer.

The internship is a ten-week program from June to September, designed to advance research in the field of life sciences.  The institute offers extensive opportunities to researchers throughout Japan as well as promoting international collaboration through exchange programs.

Beric heard about the internship from Dr. Benildo de los Reyos’, SBE professor of genetics.  “I really love genetics, and I think he noticed,” said Beric.  “He pulled me aside after lecture one day and told me I should apply.” Beric is currently performing undergraduate research in Dr. de los Reyos’ lab working with Ai Kitazumi, a graduate student studying the evolution of regulatory networks during domestication of common crop plants.

Beric came to the University of Maine at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year through a scholarship opportunity from Serbia, and will return to her home country to finish her undergraduate degree.

During her time at the University of Maine, Beric became a Maine Learning Assistant, in which she assisted Dr. Michelle Smith, professor of genetics, advance instructional educational strategies aimed to enhance student learning.  The program provides the opportunity for undergraduates to work closely with faculty and to assist them in shaping the structure of their courses.

“I am thrilled that Aleksandra was chosen for this internship,” said Michelle Smith.  “I am very impressed by her understanding of genetics and her ability to help students in my course.  With a strong research and teaching background, I am certain she has a wonderful career ahead of her.  I look forward to watching her progress.”

Beric plans on continuing her education further with graduate school to pursue profession in the field of genetics.  She is specifically interested in genetic engineering or epigenetics, the study of heritable changes in gene activity that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence.