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2015 Graduate Student Research Awards Competition

 School of Biology & Ecology graduate students will be presenting from 12:20-1:40.

Schedule of Speakers 

10:00 Opening

10:10 “Assessing the predictive power of the American Lobster Settlement Index”—Noah Oppenheim, School of Marine Sciences

10:30 “Integrated modeling and assessment of forest-based drop-in fuels”—Binod Neupane, School of Economics

10:50 “Understanding private woodland owner forest management: Qualitative and quantitative applications”—Emily Silver, School of Forest Resources

11:10 “Eco-friendly thermal insulation composite foam boards”—Nadir Yildrim, School of Forest Resources

11:30 10 minute break

11:40 “The role of zooplankton in the biological carbon pump”—Karen Stamieszkin, School of Marine Sciences

12:00 “Evaluation and improvement of fisheries stock assessment, from data collection to modeling”—Jie CaoSchool of Marine Sciences

12:20 “Development of Cerceris fumipennis for biosurveillance of the emerald ash borer”—Jennifer Lund, School of Biology and Ecology

12:40 “Survival and development of the winter moth on seven different host plants”—Kaitlyn O’Donnell, School of Biology and Ecology

1:00 10 minute break

1:10 “The effects of anthropogenic nutrient loading on functional soil microbe communities”—Corianne Tatariw, School of Biology and Ecology

1:30 “Phenology and effects of dams on the success of Atlantic salmon smolt migrations in the Penobscot River, Maine”—Daniel Stich, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology

1:50 “Linking attitudes, policy, and forest cover change in the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park, Nepal”—Jared Stapp, School of Forest Resources

2:10 “Survival and growth dynamics of reserve trees in an expanding gap silvicultural system 20 years after establishment”—David Carter, School of Forest Resources

A Core Facility for Research, Teaching, and Service: The University of Maine Herbarium

Christopher Campbell explains specimen organization at the UMaine Herbariums open house.

A core facility at The University of Maine, widely known for its accumulation of specimen that are decades older than the university and represent a great deal of the natural world, has recently changed locations on campus. Previously located in Hannibal Hamlin Hall, The University of Maine Herbarium can now be found in room two on the ground floor of Winslow Hall. The herbarium, which consists of five different collections: vascular plants, fungi, lichen, mosses, and algae, remains readily accessible to all those interested in expanding their botanical knowledge and enthusiasm. On Monday, February 9, enthusiasts, friends, and contributors gathered in Winslow Hall to share snacks, make conversation, and tour the newly located herbarium during its open house.

Lining the spacious room are large, metal cabinets that contain hundreds of manila folders conveniently available for any interested individual. Each of these folders is brimming with species of plants and fungi in a dried state, all of which were either collected or donated throughout the existence of the herbarium. Carefully glued to a piece of paper and arranged accordingly, the specimen lasts for centuries of observation and examination while being thoroughly organized in their cabinets. Alongside each specimen there is a label that reads the scientific name of the organism, its location, date of collection, and name of collector. This imaging and archiving of specimen data provides information that can be utilized for educational and scientific advances. By further expanding the online database, people from all over the world are provided with access to the UMaine Herbarium right at their fingertips.

Specimen found in UMaine Herbarium.

The involvement of many individuals, including professors, students, enthusiasts and professionals, is crucial in order for the herbarium to thrive and grow. Garth Holman, who graduated from UMaine last August with a PhD in Ecology and Environmental Sciences and is a devoted contributor, mentioned that the herbarium is a great resource for students who are interested in plant diversity and identification.

“The herbarium functions as a museum of plant life, providing a historical window on environmental conditions which can be analyzed to study many things, including the expansion of invasive species, extinctions, and climate change,” said Holman.

Chris Campbell, professor of plant systematics and a valuable resource due to his extensive knowledge on botany, is thoroughly involved with the herbarium as well. Campbell is a member of an organization called: Friends of the University of Maine Herbaria, who conduct workshops that are open to the public and students. These opportunities allow for the public to learn from individuals who are knowledgeable about plants and love to share their insight. Additionally, the friends perform important service functions, assist with the curation process, and are always willing to help the community.

The UMaine Herbarium has long been a critical asset to teaching and enlightening. It is not only a resource for students and a crucial component for several courses, but many publications have used the herbarium as a resource for their work. Kaylei Bergeron, a zoology major and contributor to the herbarium, said that the herbarium is one of the most beneficial resources on campus that can be utilized by students of all majors and interests. Whether it be out of curiosity, passion, or otherwise, visiting the UMaine Herbarium is guaranteed to provide you with knowledge of taxonomy, evolution, biodiversity in the plant world, and beyond.

The John M. Rezendes Annual Ethics Essay Contest

Submissions are currently being accepted for the 2014-2015 John M. Rezendes Annual Ethics Essay Contest sponsored by The Honors College. Writers are encouraged to focus on this year’s topic, “The Ethics of Energy, Ecology and the Environment”

Possible topics include the Ethics of Energy, Ecology, and the Environment and…

Genetic Engineering
Resource Distribution
Climate Change


Deadline: Submit FIVE copies to 146 Estabrooke Hall by Noon on Monday, February 9th.

1st prize will receive $2,800 and an original engraved sculpture. The winning essay will be bound and permanently shelved in the Honors Center, Colvin Hall. Winners of 2nd & 3rd places receive $300.

For essay guidelines, potential prompts, and more details, please visit:

For more info: Nicholas Moore on FirstClass



Learning from Natural Disaster

Hurricane Sandy, the most deadly storm of the 2012 hurricane season, not only left a lingering path of destruction for our human populations…but also dramatically impacted tidal marsh habitats of birds along the east coastline. Brian Olsen, assistant professor of biology and ecology, has begun gauging restoration of these habitats that was devastated by the violent storm that occurred a little more than two years ago.

Olsen was awarded a $1.4 million grant in order to conduct a 22-month study observing the recovery of birds in tidal marshes from Virginia to Maine.

Researchers from the University of Maine, University of Delaware, University of Connecticut and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife conducted the study, which included data from 10 different states. Olsen and researchers have been analyzing data from two years prior to Hurricane Sandy and two years after the hurricane in order to establish a restoration course of action.

“We hope that this information will help us to increase the resiliency of the region’s marshes to future challenges,” said Olsen.

Also working on the project is Maureen Correll, an ecology and environmental Ph.D. student working in Olsen’s Lab.  She will use the study as part of her dissertation.

The study will explore the storms impact on various aspects of the birds lifestyle and habitat, including reproduction, survival rates of threatened species, and provide data for projections of future storms and their affect on the bird’s habitat.  During the study, he monitored restoration and control sites from Connecticut to Maine.

The major bird species being studied include Clapper rails, Nelson’s sparrows, Saltmarsh sparrows, willets and black ducks.

For more information click here.

Spring 2015 Seminar Series: Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology

Seminars will occur Mondays from 12- 1 PM in 107 Norman Smith Hall






No Seminar




Olaf Jensen

Rutgers University

“The River Wolf and the Blue Pearl: Conservation of Endangered Salmonids in Northern Mongolia.”



Bill Sutton

Tennessee State University

“Vulnerability Assessments of Amphibian and Reptile Hotspots.”



Odbayar Tumendemberel

Mongolian Academy of Science

“Conservation and Ecology of the Gobi Bear in the Gobi Desert Ecosystem.”



Mohammed Iman Bakarr

Global Environment Facility, Washington DC

“Paradigm Shifts in the Science and Practice of Biodiversity Conservation.”



Jeff Murphy

NOAA Fisheries-Maine Field Station

“The Endangered Species Act: Interagency Consultation and Monitoring Requirements.”



No Seminar


Spring Break


No Seminar


Spring Break


Jim Sanderson

Small Wild Cat Consercation Foundation

“Small Wild Cats: Status Update and Conservation Efforts.”



John Organ

USGS Cooperative Reseearch Units Program



Adam Baukus

Gulf of Maine Research Institute

“Groundfish Trawling: Perceptions and Realities of a Complex Harvesting System.”



Janette Wallis

University of Oklahoma

“Seasonal Influence on Reproduction and Behavior in Chimpanzees.”



Allison Moody

University of Wisconsin

“Decision Support Tool for Barrier Removal in the Great Lakes Basin.”


No Seminar


NEAFWA Conference



Tom Quinn

University of Washington

“Predation by Bears on Salmon: Ecology, Behavior and Evolution.”


Please contact Abdulai Barrie (, Lisa Izzo (, Brian Rolek (, or Jonathan Watson ( to make arrangements to meet with speakers.

The University of Maine does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, including transgender status and gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran’s status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director, Office of Equal Opportunity, 101 North Stevens Hall, 581-1226.

If you are a person with a disability and need an accommodation to participate in this program, please call Lisa Izzo at 484.678.6729 to discuss your needs. Receiving requests for accommodations at least 2 days before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request, however all requests will be considered.

Rebecca Holberton and UMaine graduate student Sean Rune Featured in UMaine Today

Researchers at the University of Maine, including one of Maine’s leading bird biologists Rebecca Holberton, are interested in a feathered friend that pays a short two week visit to Maine in July, August or September.  Semipalmated sandpipers do not pass through Maine for vacation, but use their short stay as a “rest stop” for their long migration to South America. Holberton is a professor of biology for the School of Biology and Ecology at UMaine.

Holberton, with the help of SBE graduate student Sean Rune, are investigating the effects of changing habitat on sandpipers during their visit to the state of Maine.  In order to study these effects, Holberton and Rune conducted health assessments using Nano tags- tiny radio transmitters- to determine if the Maine coast is a hospitable pit stop for the birds.

Because these sandpipers are intolerant to cold, which makes the ocean an unwelcoming resting point, their stop in Maine to refuel and rest is critical before they depart on the rest of their journey.  The voyage takes between two to four days for the birds to fly 2,400 to the coast of South America.

To view the full story featured in UMaine Today click here.


Summer 2015 Internship Opportunities

Looking for experience in the field this summer? Summer Internships available for the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge!  Internships last 12-weeks (40 hr/week) beginning mid-May through September.  Starting dates are negotiable.  See descriptions below:


Natural Resource Management Botany Intern

Description: Work with refuge staff on identifying and removing invasive plants and restoring shrub-land habitats (80%): includes manual removal of invasive plants, surveying areas for new invasive plant occurrences, and propagating native plants in the refuge greenhouse. Other occasional duties include: monitoring piping plover nesting activities, including dawn and dusk chick watches, assisting visitors in our contact station, conducting wildlife surveys, assisting with salt marsh research, delivering outreach programs to refuge visitors.  For more information and application click here.


Piping Plover/ Least Tern Intern

Description:  Work with refuge staff on the management of beach nesting/roosting birds (80%): primarily monitoring piping plover nesting activities, including dawn and dusk chick watches, monitoring least tern nesting activities, developing and delivering outreach programs to beach users, and providing general beach bird conservation outreach. Other duties include occasionally assisting visitors in our contact station, conducting wildlife surveys, assisting with salt marsh research, and controlling invasive plants. For more information and application click here.


Natural Resource Management Salt Marsh Interns

Description: Work with refuge staff on a variety of duties, primarily (80%) working in small teams measuring and surveying salt marsh habitat parameters, carrying heavy equipment and installing Surface Elevation Tables (SETs), entering data, and maintaining project equipment. Other duties include occasionally assisting visitors in our contact station, developing and delivering outreach talks to the public, conducting wildlife surveys and assisting with invasive plant control.  For more information and application click here.


For additional information:

Call the refuge office at (207) 646-9226 or send and email to

Michelle Smith’s Research Featured in Article named Best of 2014 in Science

According to an article published in Science Online, titled “Lectures Aren’t Just Boring, They’re Ineffective, Too, Study Finds” active learning methods are significantly more successful compared to traditional stand-and-deliver lecture techniques. Michelle Smith, assistant professor of biology and research for the STEM Education Center at the University of Maine, coauthored the meta-analysis study that contributed to this article, which was listed the third most read by ScienceInsider in 2014


The article explains that although there is no single definition for active learning procedures, some successful approaches include answering questions by using clickers, calling on individuals randomly, or having students talk out concepts as a group in order to reach a consensus.


The paper, which appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, titled “Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics,” documented that active learning leads to increases in examination performance that would lead to a half letter grade increase in average grades.