Spring 2021 Newsletter

Outdoor portrait headshot of Director Gayle ZydlewskiMessage from the Director

Spring is here, along with a sense of new beginnings. I am happy to welcome a couple of new team members, share new research funding opportunities, and highlight our work in coastal communities. And though many of our beloved events are still in a virtual space – notably and most recent on my mind is the 2021 Fishermen’s Forum – we all look forward to the time when we can gather in person to share our lived experiences. I encourage you to continue to reach out to all Maine Sea Grant staff and me directly, so we can be sure to stay attuned to your emerging needs, and we look forward to meeting with you in person soon.

General Updates

Maine Sea Grant welcomes new staff

Please join us in welcoming Jessica Jansujwicz and Julie Rutherford to our Maine Sea Grant team. As our new Student Engagement and Research Program Manager, Jessica Jansujwicz will coordinate networking and professional development opportunities for students involved in Maine Sea Grant-supported research and educational programming. Julie Rutherford, our new Fiscal Manager, will support our staff and grants management team.


Maine Sea Grant accepting applications for Undergraduate Scholarship in Marine Sciences 

Students can now submit applications for Maine Sea Grant’s annual Undergraduate Scholarship in Marine Sciences, which provides each selected awardee with a $1000 scholarship. Award recipients will be invited to attend Sea Grant-sponsored workshops, conferences, and other events related to marine and coastal science, policy, resource management, community outreach, and education. These scholarships are made in partnership with undergraduate institutions from around the state. For more information about eligibility and the application process, visit the Maine Sea Grant website. Applications are due April 26, 2021.


National Sea Grant College Program opens third call for American lobster research

The National Sea Grant College Program is accepting two-year project proposals for American lobster research with a geographic focus on the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and/or southern New England that address one or more of the following:

        • Life history parameters, including but not limited to impacts of ocean acidification;
        • Distribution and abundance, including but not limited to ecosystem shifts;
        • Species interactions; and/or
        • Bait alternatives.

Applications are due April 20, 2021. Further information about the competition can be found on the NOAA Sea Grant Funding Opportunities page and on grants.gov.

Research RFP to improve understanding of offshore renewable energy interactions with fishing and coastal communities to optimize ocean co-use now open

The Northeast Sea Grant Consortium, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and Water Power Technologies Office, and NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, announces a research funding opportunity to support the co-existence of ocean energy with Northeast fishing and coastal communities. The funding competition is accepting pre-proposals from eligible Northeast researchers through May 14, 2021. Read more about and download the Request for Proposals here.

two urchins held in outstretched handsResearch project advances sea urchin aquaculture

Marine Extension Associate Dana Morse will be providing extension support to a team of UMaine, University of Rhode Island, and University of New Hampshire researchers looking to engage aquaculturists in advancing sea urchin aquaculture in the Gulf of Maine. The research team received a $100K grant to conduct growth trials, research technologies and techniques from around the world, and develop seed stock. The majority of the research will be conducted at UMaine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research.

Extension and Community Engagement 

Maine Sea Grant supports Maine Fishermen’s Forum 2021 events

Each year, members of the Maine Sea Grant team look forward to the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, an in-person event that brings together hundreds of fishermen, aquaculturists, fisheries managers, researchers, nonprofits, and trade organizations for cross-sector conversations. And, though COVID-19 prevented us from meeting in person, this year is no different — we’re still excited to engage. Maine Sea Grant has provided enthusiasm and encouragement as the Forum board decided to restructure the 2021 Forum to a series of virtual events. Read more about Maine Sea Grant’s history with the Forum and our involvement in this year’s events on our blog, and visit the Maine Fishermen Forum’s website for a complete list of activities.

Masked photo of Esperanza Stancioff sitting beside flowers
Esperanza Stancioff

Extension Professor recognized for climate change and sustainability work

Esperanza Stancioff, Extension Professor and climate change lead for UMaine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant, has received a 2020 Mitchell Center Sustainability Award. She is recognized for her outstanding contributions toward the development of a solution by a researcher or research team through her work on the Collaborating Toward Climate Solutions project.

Maine Sea Grant announces Buoy Maine pitch competition winners

Maine Sea Grant is pleased to announce that Buoy Maine, a pitch competition designed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship that support Maine’s working waterfront and coastal communities, is funding ten innovative projects and ideas that help better address the challenges of operating a business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Signs of the Seasons offers virtual and socially distanced in-person trainings 

Signs of the Seasons, a citizen science program that trains participants to observe and record the phenology of plants and animals living in their community, is offering a mix of in-person and virtual training for new volunteers in 2021. Check out the upcoming training dates and locations.

Education and Workforce Development

Virtual facilitation training back by popular demand

Marine Extension Team member Kristen Grant worked with partners at University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension to develop and run an Art and Science of Virtual Facilitation workshop series for participants in Maine and New Hampshire. The workshop was so successful, Grant and co-facilitator Gabe McPhail were asked to conduct two additional trainings in February for early career professionals from AmeriCorps and the Island Fellows program. Additional workshop series are currently being developed.


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.

National Sea Grant College Program now accepting American lobster research proposals

The National Sea Grant College Program has opened another call for research proposals focused on American lobster. Research topics suitable for study on American lobster under this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) should have a geographic focus on the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and/or southern New England and address one or more of the following:

      • Life history parameters, including but not limited to impacts of ocean acidification;
      • Distribution and abundance, including but not limited to ecosystem shifts;
      • Species interactions; and/or
      • Bait alternatives.

Applications are due April 20, 2021. Further information about the competition can be found on the NOAA Sea Grant Funding Opportunities page and on grants.gov. Questions about the competition should be emailed to oar.hq.sg.competitions@noaa.gov.

Collaborative Chats highlight successful research partnerships in the lobster industry

Members of the lobster industry, state agencies, and the scientific community together shared their stories of successful research partnership. Hosted by Maine Sea Grant, Maine Department of Marine Resources, and the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute, this series of virtual discussions explored what worked, what didn’t work, and encouraged discussions about how to make collaborative research a priority. All five Collaborative Chats are available for viewing on the American Lobster Initiative website.

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. 

Alliance welcomes new steering committee members

The Alliance welcomes Hugh Cowperthwaite as the Alliance Chair in 2021. Other SC members include: Paul Anderson, Beth Bisson, Curt Brown, Robert Dumas, Andrew Lively, and Charles Tilburg.  Learn more about our steering committee and members here.

2020 Alliance Highlights now available

Last year saw major shifts in markets and business operations. Check out some of the Alliance Highlights, both before and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Annual Fall forum a success

The Alliance brought together private and public partners for an innovative panel discussion on Seafood Quality and Product Diversification. A recording of the event and the panel presentations can be found on the Alliance Virtual Offerings page.

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. 

Work on Maine aquaculture roadmap continues

Over the past nine months, Maine Aquaculture Hub has conducted 10 focus group meetings and conducted one-on-one calls, engaging 140 stakeholders and thought leaders in conversations about the future of Maine aquaculture. From this feedback, a draft Roadmap will be developed and then shared with all stakeholders in late spring before a final plan is released.

Aquaculture in Shared Waters completes another successful training session

With topics ranging from biology and farm management to regulations and the leasing system, Aquaculture in Shared Waters (AQSW) concluded another 12-week session. Nearly 300 students have taken the AQSW training program, which began in 2013 with the goal of offering aquaculture education to fishermen and others in the working waterfront industry. The free introductory course will be offered again later this year, beginning in November.

In the News

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