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.