Spring 2020 Newsletter

Message from the Director

Outdoor portrait headshot of Director Gayle ZydlewskiIt is with great excitement that I reach out to you at a time when our Program has much to celebrate: new team members, new state and regional initiatives, and the many partnerships and projects that continue from Wells to Eastport. I am thrilled to introduce Hannah Robbins, our new communications manager and Justin Stevens, our newest extension team member focusing on sea-run fish and healthy coastal ecosystems. On another positive note, Congressional support for the Sea Grant Program is at an all-time high. The federal budget passed with increased funding for the program and the House passed a bill to reauthorize the program. We anticipate a productive spring as we dig into Aquaculture in Shared Waters, the State Climate Council, Regional American Lobster Initiative, and many other collaborations as we look forward to the return of the alewife in April!


General Updates

We’ve Moved!

Maine Sea Grant is starting out the New Year in a new location. Our offices on the Orono campus have moved from York Complex to Libby Hall. Let us know if you’d like to stop by and check out our new digs.

We’re Growing!

Maine Sea Grant is accepting applications for a new Marine Extension Associate position focused on increasing climate resilience outreach and resource development in Maine’s coastal communities. The application review period begins March 23, 2020. Read more about the position.



Maine Sea Grant opens Program Development proposal applications

Each year, Maine Sea Grant allocates part of its budget for Program Development (PD) funds. We award these funds twice a year to enhance our strategic plan goals. This round of PD awards will focus on projects that advance Maine’s capacity for adaptive coastal resource management and public policy in response to climate-driven ecosystem change. Applications are due April 1, 2020. Find out more about the application process.

National Sea Grant opens new round of funding for American Lobster research

The National Sea Grant Office has opened a new round of funding for its American Lobster Research Program to address the critical gaps in knowledge about how the American Lobster and its fishery are being impacted by environmental change. The deadline to apply is March 19, 2020. Read more about the funding opportunity.

cover of the Maine's Climate Future 2020 update publicationSea Grant and Cooperative Extension staff contribute to two new climate-related publications

University of Maine publishes Maine’s Climate Future 2020 Update
Extension Professor Esperanza Stancioff and Maine Sea Grant Senior Designer Kathy Tenga-González both contributed to Maine’s Climate Future 2020 Update, a report that demonstrates the accelerating change in Maine’s climate and its effects. Read the report.

Maine Policy Review publishes on coastal community preparedness for climate change
Extension Professor Esperanza Stancioff co-authored “Preparing for a Changing Climate: The State of Adaptation Planning in Maine’s Coastal Communities,” published in the Maine Policy Review. Read the article.

Scallop research continues

Scallop farming in Maine is still in its infancy, but a collaboration between several scallop farms and researchers at UMaine will provide information that should move scallop aquaculture toward improved production and profitability. Marine Extension Associate Dana Morse will lead a science and outreach team with Damian Brady from the Darling Center and graduate student Struan Coleman.

Together, Marsden and Bob Brewer of Stonington, Nate Perry of Pine Point Oysters of Cape Elizabeth, Chris Davis of Pemaquid Oysters in Damariscotta, and Phoebe Jekielek of Hurricane Island will collect data on growth rates, mortality, and yield in order to compare the performance of oysters in lantern nets, ear-hanging lines, and scallops attached to lines by adhesives. Hugh Cowperthwaite of Coastal Enterprises, Inc. will lead the effort to match growth with economic data in order to assess the viability of scallop farming. The project also examines the patterns of fouling at each site and gathers information on biotoxin within the scallops.


Extension and Community Engagement

Maine Sea Grant to attend Fishermen’s Forum

From March 5-7, Maine Sea Grant will join fishermen, resource managers, scientists, coastal decision-makers, and community members at the 45th annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum, an event that provides free seminars covering a wide range of topics and offers a platform for participants to share information, discuss ongoing opportunities and challenges, and collaborate. It also provides ample opportunity for you to connect directly with Maine Sea Grant staff and extension team members.

This year, you can find us at:

  • Wind Energy Development in the Gulf of Maine, Thursday, March 5, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm. Maine Sea Grant Director Gayle Zydlewski will co-host a day-long session on offshore wind energy development.
  • Seafood Reception, Thursday, March 5, 5:30 pm. Marine Extension Associates Chris Bartlett and Dana Morse will help shuck oysters for those attending.
  • Environmental Monitors on Lobster Traps and Large Trawlers (eMOLT): A Gathering of Participants to Update Them on Protocol and Results, Friday, March 6, 1:00 pm. Maine Sea Grant Director Gayle Zydlewski will host a session that will describe the eMOLT program and provide training on new equipment and technologies.
  • Voices from the Maine Fishermen’s Forum: Stories and Exhibit, Saturday, March 7, 9:00 am. Marine Extension Associate Natalie Springuel will provide a brief background on the Voices from the Maine Fishermen’s Forum project as a panelist before session attendees are invited to explore listening stations and hear stores from 2018 and 2019 Forum attendees.
  • Maine DMR Lobster Science and Collaboration, Saturday March 7, 10:30 am. Marine Extension Associate Chris Bartlett will be presenting on the American Lobster Initiative.
  • Practical Equipment and Methods for Scallop Farming, Saturday, March 7, 1:00 pm. Marine Extension Associate Dana Morse will moderate an interactive, hands-on information sharing session, where attendees will see a longline setup and a common scallop farming equipment display.

You can also hear more about the Aquaculture in Shared Waters program Saturday, March 7 at the Aquaculture Training Opportunities for Fishermen and Marine Tradespeople session at 2:45 pm.

A man in a blue shirt among rainforest vegetation
Photo: Kristen Grant, Maine Sea GrantYanfrid N. Janan shows the inner bark of a rainforest tree in the village of Talio, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Additionally, you can connect with Maine Sea Grant at the Trade Show. Stop by our exhibit table to meet our team and learn more about our mission and funded projects!

Living with the Rainforest: The Cultural Knowledge of Borneo’s Dayak People

Borneo, Indonesia, or Kalimantan as it is known locally, is among the most biodiverse places on Earth, and the indigenous Dayak people of Borneo are the keepers of vast cultural knowledge about the diversity of native plants. Kristen Grant, Extension Associate with Maine Sea Grant, recently traveled to Borneo to study with the Dayak people and help document their traditional uses of native plants for food and medicine. Indonesia is home to a Sea Grant sister program called Indonesia Sea Partnership, and to conduct this study Kristen partnered with Dr. Yuanike Kaber from the Sea Partnership. Read more about this project.

Signs of the Seasons citizen science program gears up for spring trainings

Signs of the Seasons (SOS): A New England Phenology Program engages citizen scientists to document the timing of seasonal biological changes. Now entering its tenth season, SOS is offering four trainings around the state:

March 16, 2020, 4:00 – 6:30 pm, Gilsland Farm Audubon Center, Falmouth
March 24, 2020, 4:00 – 6:30 pm, Audubon Fields Pond Station, Holden
April 8, 2020, 4:00 – 6:30 pm, UMaine Extension, Piscataquis County, Dover-Foxcroft
April 27, 2020, 12:30 – 3:00 pm, Laudholm Farm at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Wells

All trainings are free and open to the public, though registration is required. Visit and register here.

Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification Partnership announces new coordinator

UMaine Extension Professor Esperanza Stancioff is now the Coordinator of the Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification (MOCA) Partnership, a volunteer partnership that coordinates the work of governmental agencies, private organizations, and citizens to reduce the impacts of and help adapt to ocean and coastal acidification

In the summer of 2019, MOCA disseminated seasonal newsletters and emails to update a community of over 200 subscribers, held three meetings to provide information on current research and outreach efforts, and supported legislative outreach efforts that led to Representative Lydia Blume’s Marine Advisory Council bill, which was incorporated into the Governor’s Climate Council Bill.

a group of five people work around a flipchart
Participants in Sea Grant’s SYFS training hone their skills.

Maine Sea Grant staff and partners strengthen their facilitation skills

This fall and winter, Maine Sea Grant staff and students as well as several partners took part in the Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills (SYFS) training provided by Kristen Grant, Extension Associate with Maine Sea Grant. Most participated in 20 hours of training which focused on practicing with peers to apply new facilitation concepts, tools and skills. Kristen offers this training and many variations of it to audiences across the state throughout the year. This fall she also trained 30 AmeriCorps members, and this winter will hold a community-based training in Portland. Find out more about training and registration.

Cost-saving Japanese scallop gear comes to Maine

Maine Sea Grant is working with Mutsu Kaden Tokki Co., Ltd., a Japanese manufacturer of scallop-farming equipment, to import and modify a scallop-washing machine for use by growers in Maine’s scallop farming industry. Instead of using a 1-ton power pack that normally comes with the system, this washer will run off of vessel power, making the equipment more cost-effective and more portable.

The washer unit was delivered to the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, and Maine Sea Grant’s Marine Extension Associate Dana Morse is working with Ray Cole at Billings and Cole, with guidance from John Belding of the Advanced Manufacturing Center at UMaine in Orono, to retrofit the unit.

The project is funded by the Research Reinvestment Fund of the University of Maine and builds on the work of Hugh Cowperthwaite at Coastal Enterprises, Inc.


Education and Workforce Development

a man teaching a class in front of video screens
Photo: Dana Morse, Maine Sea GrantUMaine’s Dr. Damian Brady speaks to the 2020 Aquaculture in Shared Waters class about the use of satellite and other technologies for site selection in shellfish and seaweed farming.

Aquaculture in Shared Waters program welcomes a new class

Aquaculture in Shared Waters (AQSW), a comprehensive training program for new and existing shellfish and seaweed producers, welcomed its eighth group of students in 2020, with classes in Brunswick and a remote broadcast to UMaine’s Hutchinson Center in Belfast. Over the span of the 12-week course, participants review a suite of important topics: production methods and equipment, site selection, permitting and regulation, public health, business and financial management, sales and marketing, biosecurity, etc.

The course is taught by a long-standing collaboration of experts from Maine Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, the Maine Aquaculture Association, and Coastal Enterprises, Inc., who also coordinates this cohort of AQSW. Funding is through the National Sea Grant Program.

In addition to the technical instruction in the course, students also broaden their professional network through a series of guest speakers and field trips, and will collect information that will form the basis of their reference library. Through 2019, more than 150 students have been through the program, and of those roughly half have either started a new enterprise or improved their current operation. Read more about the program.

Maine educators share aquaculture curriculum

Aquaculture ME!, an initiative that connects classroom teachers with aquaculture science and industry, held its first ever professional development conference at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center near Damariscotta. The event was supported through grants from Maine Sea Grant and Educate Maine. Read more about the conference.

Undergraduate scholarship opportunity opens next month

Maine Sea Grant opens the annual call for applications for its Undergraduate Scholarship in Marine Sciences next month. The 2020 scholarship application materials will be available on our funding page by Friday, March 13, and the deadline to apply for the 2020-2021 scholarship will be Monday, April 27, 2020.



Maine Sea Grant is involved with and supports the work of various collaborations throughout the state and in the region.

American Lobster Initiative

The American Lobster Initiative (ALI) supports scientific research to understand physical and chemical changes affecting American Lobster and a four-year extension effort, coordinated by Maine Sea Grant, to facilitate partnerships, communication, and collaboration among the lobster industry, management agencies, and lobster scientists throughout the region.

Research and extension teams meet

Maine Sea Grant is coordinating a new Northeast Regional Lobster Extension Program which involves six other state Sea Grant extension programs (NY, CT, RI, MIT, WHOI, and NH) and provides funding for a new lobster extension professional to serve the Northeast region. The effort is designed to complement and enhance National Sea Grant ALI research investments by convening an annual American Lobster summit, facilitating collaboration and communication among lobster researchers, industry members, and marine resource managers throughout the Northeast, and providing extension and science communication services that help to support these efforts. Maine Sea Grant hosted a meeting of the American Lobster Initiative’s extension and research teams at the end of January, and the Northeast extension partners have assembled a regional steering committee of lobster industry and management professionals to provide guidance for the ALI’s activities over the next four years.

Sea Grant opens a new call for lobster research

The National Sea Grant Office opened a new call for ALI research proposals in mid-January, with a focus on four funding priorities that address critical gaps in knowledge about how the American Lobster and its fishery are being impacted by environmental change. Information about the competition can be found on the National Sea Grant website and on grants.gov. Questions about the competition should be sent to oar.hq.sg.competitions@noaa.gov.The deadline to apply is March 19, 2020. Find out more about the funding opportunity.

Alliance for Maine’s Marine Economy

The Alliance, a responsive network dedicated to the growth of a vibrant marine economy for Maine, is coordinated by a Marine Extension Team member. Maine Sea Grant is excited to share the Alliance’s work with you.

Fall Forum is a success

Alliance 2019 Highlights cover
Alliance for Maine’s Marine Economy 2019 Highlights

Coordinated by Maine Sea Grant’s Keri Kaczor, the Alliance for Maine’s Marine Economy (Alliance) is a responsive network of companies, organizations, and individuals dedicated to the growth of a vibrant marine economy for Maine. On November 14th, 2019, the Alliance held its annual Fall Forum that brought together businesses and professionals from across Maine’s marine economy to forge new collaborations, and to facilitate learning and adoption of best practices across the sector. The event started with the Alliance’s semi-annual business meeting, followed by lunch, and grantee presentations from Luke’s Lobster/Cape Seafood, Georgetown Aquaculture, and UMaine’s Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory. The event closed with a presentation from Bruce Wagner (FAME) on the state’s economic development strategy, including cross-pollination with Maine’s marine economy. A special thanks to the hosts and sponsors of this event, UMaine’s Darling Marine Center and UMaine’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development. Read more about the Alliance.

Report highlights Alliance’s accomplishments

To learn about the Alliance’s accomplishments in 2019, and how to get involved, check out the 2019 Highlights Report.

Alliance welcomes its 2020 Steering Committee

We are pleased to announce the Alliance’s Steering Committee in the new year: Curt Brown (Chair), Ready Seafood; Andrew Lively, Cooke Aquaculture; Brian Beal, UMaine Machias; Charles Tilburg, University of New England; Hugh Cowperthwaite, Coastal Enterprises, Inc.; Paul Anderson, Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries; and Beth Bisson, Maine Sea Grant. Learn more about the Alliance.

Maine Aquaculture Hub

The Maine Aquaculture Hub was formed to help the aquaculture industry in Maine overcome barriers to growth. Maine Sea Grant is a founding partner, and remains actively involved in the Hub’s Steering Committee.

Maine Aquaculture Hub launches new website
Hosted by Maine Sea Grant, the Maine Aquaculture Hub’s website outlines the hub’s activities and provides details about hub partners.


composite image of two newspaper articles

In the News

WERU program features the Alliance for Maine’s Marine Economy

Entrepreneurs with the Alliance for Maine’s Marine Economy shared their stories and innovations that are transforming Maine’s seafood economy on the Maine Sea Grant-sponsored Coastal Conversations Radio Program on November 22nd. Tune in here to access the conversation.

Local newspaper features student work

The Boothbay Register featured work from Marina Cucuzza, a UMaine graduate student and former Sea Grant Scholar.

UMaine study concludes coastal communities differ in their resilience to environmental change


Mark Your Calendars

March 5-7: Maine Fishermen’s Forum. 

March 16: Signs of the Seasons Training. Maine Sea Grant and Extension staff will be leading a training at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth.

March 19: Deadline for National Sea Grant American Lobster research proposals.

March 24: Signs of the Seasons Training. Maine Sea Grant and Extension staff will be leading a training Audubon Fields Pond Station in Holden.

April 1: Deadline for Program Development proposals.

April 8: Signs of the Seasons Training. Maine Sea Grant and Extension staff will be leading a training at UMaine Extension Piscataquis County in Dover-Foxcroft.

April 27: Signs of the Seasons Training. Maine Sea Grant and Extension staff will be leading a training at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Wells.