Tag Archives: University of Maine

Researchers use DNA in seawater to monitor scallop reproduction

Researchers from the University of Maine and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences have developed a method for studying the timing of scallop spawning by analyzing the environmental DNA found in water samples. The newly published study provides a tool for managing wild and farmed shellfish populations, and it demonstrates the promise of emerging eDNA approaches for monitoring the presence and activities of all marine life. >click to read< 08:37

Warmer Northumberland Strait not good news for lobster fishery

As climate change warms the waters around Prince Edward Island, it could bring a new threat of disease to lobsters. University of Maine researcher Richard Wahle said his surveys of the waters around P.E.I. contain both good and bad news for the lobster fishery. There was good news in recent counts of baby lobster.,,, Warming waters around Rhode Island have led to shell disease and a drop in the lobster population there, he said. >click to read< 12:05

With herring shortage, lobster industry looks to other bait sources

The care and feeding of lobsters in the face of a bait crisis was the focus of a presentation at Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries ,,, With a shortage in herring, most lobstermen’s first choice to bait lobster traps, the industry is looking for solutions. “No bait is a big problem for a state that depends so much on lobster,” Stoll said. With about $60 million in ex-vessel landings value at the Stonington port in 2018, the commercial lobster industry supports thousands of local jobs, he noted. “Lobster is currently the most valuable fishery in the U.S., and 80 percent comes from Stonington.” >click to read< 10:58

Coast to coast, companies team up to fund UMaine lobster research

A $75,000 gift from two seafood companies will fund a fourth field season for a University of Maine deepwater lobster settlement monitoring program. The deepwater research is an extension of the American Lobster Settlement Index, which was initiated in 1989 by Rick Wahle, a research professor in the School of Marine Sciences and director of the Lobster Institute. The index includes collaborators and monitoring sites from Rhode Island to Newfoundland.,,, The 2019 field season will be funded by a $50,000 gift from Ready Seafood Company, and a $25,000 gift from Santa Monica Seafood Co., a seafood distributor in California. (Thank You!) >click to read<11:42

Genevieve McDonald — a lobster boat captain and legislator — to graduate with highest distinction

Some people call Genevieve McDonald, Captain. Five months a year, she fishes for lobsters in Western Penobscot Bay. Others know her as Rep. McDonald. The Democratic legislator represents 8,000-plus people living on island communities around Stonington, Maine. In 2018, 67 percent of House District 134 voters elected to send her to Augusta. Students at Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School, where she’s worked as a long-term substitute, call her Mrs. McDonald. To Evalina and Elise, the 1-year-old twins she parents with husband Cory, she’s Mom. And May 11 at Commencement at the University of Maine, she’ll be a college graduate, summa cum laude. >click to read<11:42

Wahle named director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine

University of Maine marine sciences research professor Richard Wahle has been named director of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute, effective Sept. 1. He succeeds Robert Bayer, who has directed the institute since 1995 and is retiring from UMaine this year. Wahle joined UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences in 2009. He is based at the University’s Darling Marine Center, where he will continue to teach and conduct research. In 1989, Wahle founded the American Lobster Settlement Index, a program that now monitors the number of juvenile lobsters that settle to the seafloor at over 80 sampling sites from Rhode Island to Atlantic Canada. The index sheds light on the ocean processes that deliver lobster larvae to their rocky coastal nurseries, and serves as a predictor of trends in recruitment to the fishery. >click to read<10:36

Why Maine fishermen may be losing their knowledge of the sea

Maine fishermen have a long history of being involved in fisheries management. Communication between harvesters and policymakers has been instrumental in the development of rules and regulations that have helped to sustain the region’s coastal fisheries—from clams to alewives to lobsters. In part, this success results from the deep understanding of the natural environment held by fishermen. “Local ecological knowledge” is a term used to describe the collective perceptions held by a particular group about their environment, resulting from the transmission of cultural knowledge from one generation to the next, combined with regular and persistent interactions between people and the environment. >click to read<19:47

Lobster shell disease nudges up slightly off of Maine

A disease that disfigures lobsters has ticked up slightly in Maine in the last couple of years, but authorities and scientists say it’s not time to sound the alarm. The disease, often called epizootic shell disease, is a bacterial infection that makes lobsters impossible to sell as food, eating away at their shells and sometimes killing them. The Maine Department of Marine Resources said researchers found the disease in about 1 percent of lobsters last year. >click to read<16:41

What’s happening to the lobster babies? Portland dealer will pay to get an answer

Scientists want to know why the number of lobster babies in the Gulf of Maine is declining when their numbers at every other stage of their life cycle remain high. That question is considered so important to the future of Maine’s $1.5 billion lobster industry that one of Maine’s 200 lobster dealers – Ready Seafood of Portland – is funding a university study to investigate what some scientists call the big disconnect. “What’s happening to the babies?” asked Brendan Ready. >click to read< 14:18

Benchmark study of lobsters begins

In 2015, data collected in a benchmark assessment of New England lobster stocks showed record-high abundance for the combined stocks of the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank and record lows for the lobster stock of southern New England. Now, about three years later, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is beginning preparations for the next American lobster benchmark assessment that is expected to be completed around March 2020. “We’re in the very early stages right now,” said Jeff Kipp, senior stock assessment scientist at the Arlington, Virginia-based ASMFC that regulates the Northeast lobster fishery. “The process will be mostly data-driven.” >click to read< 21:10

State disputes study that predicts sharp decline in Gulf of Maine lobster population

The state agency that oversees Maine’s marine fisheries is questioning the reliability of a new study that predicts a sharp decline in Gulf of Maine lobsters over the next 30 years. The Gulf of Maine Research Institute, the University of Maine and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration built a computer model that predicts the population will fall 40 to 62 percent by 2030. But Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources, won’t be using the model to help him decide how to manage the state’s most valuable fishery,,, >click here to read< 01:06 

Gulf of Maine lobster boom over as population starts to decline

The Gulf of Maine lobster population will shrink 40 to 62 percent over the next 30 years because of rising ocean temperatures, according to a new study released Monday. As the water temperature rises – the northwest Atlantic ocean is warming at three times the global average rate – the number of lobster eggs that survive their first year of life will decrease, and the number of small-bodied lobster predators that eat those that remain will increase. Those effects will cause the lobster population to fall through 2050, according to a study by scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, University of Maine and National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. >click here to read< 19:49 

“American lobster larva,” wins people’s choice in Photography category of the 2016 Visualization Challenge

As a master’s student in marine biology at the University of Maine, Jesica Waller spent the summer taking pictures of baby lobsters.,,, This image of a live three-week-old specimen was one of thousands Waller took. It captures the distinct, delicate hairs on the legs. Since lobsters have very poor vision, they rely on their leg hairs for sensory tasks such as finding food. Adults have them too, meaning baby and grown-up lobsters alike taste with their feet. This illustration won people’s choice in the Photography category (click here) of the 2016 Visualization Challenge, now called the Vizzies click here to read the story 18:38

Scientists expect some decline in Gulf of Maine lobster numbers, but ‘no calamity’

Concern about the effects of climate change have reached Maine’s lobster industry, where there are questions whether the state’s record lobster catches can be sustained. There has been wide agreement among fishermen and scientists in recent years that the waters of the Gulf of Maine have been getting steadily warmer as a result of the changing climate. In fact, researchers say the Gulf water have warmed more quickly than most other parts of the ocean. University of Maine researcher Dr. Rick Wahle said warmer water in the Gulf has been one factor in the big jump in lobster landings. He said a reduction in the number of lobster predators and conservation efforts by fishermen are also factors. click here to read the story 14:53

Bill to move Monhegan wind power project draws crowd to legislative hearing  

Lawmakers heard passionate, conflicting testimony Tuesday from dozens of people on a bill aimed at moving a nationally significant wind energy test site farther from Monhegan Island. Supporters said views of two massive floating turbines would jeopardize tourism, lobster fishing, migrating birds and the sense of serenity associated with Monhegan’s wild beauty. Some said island residents were being bullied and divided by the University of Maine and the partners of Maine Aqua Ventus, a project that is testing new technology for offshore wind turbines about 3 miles from the island. The project initially promised a small, brief test, but has now expanded it beyond anyone’s expectations. Opponents of the bill, which would move the test site at least 7 miles farther out to sea, said it is unneeded and unwelcome, adding that it would short-circuit the process by which islanders are evaluating the project’s potential benefits. Both sides said much is at stake. But representatives of the Maine Lobstering Union, which represents 500 fishermen, said wind power has no place on the Maine coast. Other lobstermen, though, spoke in favor of the turbines. Mary Weber, whose husband, Matt, fishes around the island, said they didn’t think the turbines would deter tourists, and might even draw a new set of visitors interested in clean energy. click here to read the story 15:30

Monhegan Island is the wrong place for wind turbines

floating windmillA recent Press Herald article described Protect Monhegan as a “small group” of island residents seeking the relocation of wind turbines to be placed little more than two miles from our island. While we may be small in terms of the big institutions we are up against – Maine’s largest public university (the University of Maine), largest construction company (Cianbro Corp.) and second-largest electric utility (Emera Maine) – we represent the views of nearly half of Monhegan Island residents, as well as many other seasonal residents and visitors from around the world. Like many of us who live here, they simply can’t understand why – of all the places along Maine’s 3,500-mile coastline – the waters off Monhegan must be the place to experiment with two 585-foot wind turbines. The fact is, the process that led to this decision has been anything but transparent. What was originally presented as a one-eighth-scale turbine, which would be tested for two five-month periods, has morphed into a 20-year-long major project, with industrial-scale wind turbines on floating towers and backed by $48 million of taxpayer money. Read the rest here 08:35

A UMaine grad student’s picture of a colorful tiny larval lobster wins National Science Foundation award

This photo made in summer 2015 and provided by Jesica Waller shows a three-week-old baby lobster at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine. Her photograph won a National Science Foundation visual media award and also appears in the March/April 2016 edition of Popular Science. Waller, who’s in her second year of a master’s program in marine biology at the University of Maine, is studying the effect of climate change scenarios on larval lobsters. Read the rest here 10:07

Warming waters a major factor in the collapse of New England cod, study finds

newstudywarmPershing and colleagues from GMRI, the University of Maine, Stony Brook University, the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, and NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, including the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, found that increasing water temperatures reduce the number of new cod produced by spawning females. Their study also suggests that warming waters led to fewer young fish surviving to adulthood. Read the rest here 18:04

Industry-led sea urchin restoration project gets DMR boost

An industry-led effort to determine whether sea urchins can be encouraged to grow in once fertile habitat got a boost last week. The Department of Marine Resources Advisory Council unanimously approved a regulation closing a part of the Sheepscot River to urchin fishing for nearly three years. According to DMR, the industry-led plan was developed through the Sea Urchin Zone Council. Commercial harvesters will do the majority of the work on the project with support from the department and scientists on the panel. Read the rest here 10:47

Can cusk survive the ‘fish bends’? So far, we have determined that they can!

cusk survive the fish bendsI have been working with commercial fishermen in the Maine lobster fishery to test if cusk can survive ‘the fish bend’s’So far, we have determined that cusk can survive if they are returned to the depth where they are captured. we have determined to test if cusk can survive ‘the fish bend’s’ despite all of the trauma they experience when brought to the surface. These lobstermen have been conducting experiments during normal fishing operations to collect data on the ability of cusk to survive. If a fisherman catches a cusk,,,  Read the rest here 16:23

Study unveils why Atlantic bluefin tuna suffer despite prey abundance

In a paper in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series titled “The paradox of the pelagics: why bluefin tuna can go hungry in a sea of plenty,” the seven authors outlined how the overall condition (fat content) of Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Maine declined despite an abundance of Atlantic herring  — their preferred prey. The population of Atlantic herring has increased over the past two decades suggesting that foraging conditions should have been favorable for bluefin tuna. A decline in bluefin tuna condition despite,,, Read the rest here 10:26

Climate change impact on lobster already visible, Lobsters struggle for breath in warming ocean

Warmer water temperatures and more acidic conditions seem to make lobster larvae grow more slowly, preliminary studies have found. A researcher at the University of Maine is collaborating with a professor at the University of Prince Edward Island on what impact climate change could have on lobster. University of Maine Masters student Jessica Waller is trying to figure out why the larvae are growing more slowing, by testing them in the water conditions expected 85 years from now due to climate change. Read the rest here 10:26

Scientists, academics to lead groundfish study

A group of scientific and academic institutions is leading a researching initiative about the groundfish stocks in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank. The federal New England Fishery Management Council is giving $800,000 to the Northeast Consortium for the project. Read the rest here 08:11

FRIENDSHIP, Maine – proposed wind turbine farm off Monhegan Island was met with skepticism and outright opposition

BDNThe presentation was made by representatives of the University of Maine to about 30 people at the Friendship town office. The wind farm would cover an 8-mile-by-8-mile area off Monhegan. “This would devastate fishing in that area if you do that,” said fisherman Kevin Benner. [email protected] 09:21

Top lobster scientists gather for Maine symposium ( wonder if they have any experts coming. Like lobstermen?)

PORTLAND, Maine  — Top lobster scientists are meeting to look at fundamental changes that have affected lobsters in recent years after a summer that featured a potentially record-breaking haul in Maine and Canada and a crash in wholesale prices. The Maine Sea Grant program at the University of Maine is hosting a conference in Portland beginning Tuesday focusing on issues such as warming ocean temperatures, the changing food web and seafood economics. About 135 people have registered, including scientists from the United States, Canada and Europe, regulators and industry representatives. http://online.wsj.com/article/AP25a6a09cc2c242a597a0abbc9287bcb1.html