East Machias, ME, United States
East Machias, ME, United States

The University of Maine at Machias is one of seven campuses in the University of Maine System. Located in Machias, Maine, United States, the seat of Washington County, the university was founded in 1909 as a normal school for educating teachers, and offers studies in recreation, education, Psychology & Community Studies and physical science, including a recognized marine biology program. Enrollment is approximately 1,200 students. Wikipedia.

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PubMed | Southern Connecticut State University, University of North Texas, Bucknell University, Washington State University and 21 more.
Type: | Journal: Nature microbiology | Year: 2017

Temperate phages are common, and prophages are abundant residents of sequenced bacterial genomes. Mycobacteriophages are viruses that infect mycobacterial hosts including Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium smegmatis, encompass substantial genetic diversity and are commonly temperate. Characterization of ten Cluster N temperate mycobacteriophages revealed at least five distinct prophage-expressed viral defence systems that interfere with the infection of lytic and temperate phages that are either closely related (homotypic defence) or unrelated (heterotypic defence) to the prophage. Target specificity is unpredictable, ranging from a single target phage to one-third of those tested. The defence systems include a single-subunit restriction system, a heterotypic exclusion system and a predicted (p)ppGpp synthetase, which blocks lytic phage growth, promotes bacterial survival and enables efficient lysogeny. The predicted (p)ppGpp synthetase coded by the Phrann prophage defends against phage Tweety infection, but Tweety codes for a tetrapeptide repeat protein, gp54, which acts as a highly effective counter-defence system. Prophage-mediated viral defence offers an efficient mechanism for bacterial success in host-virus dynamics, and counter-defence promotes phage co-evolution.

News Article | December 15, 2015
Site: phys.org

Blue mussels, Mytilus edulis, live on northern Atlantic shores in the area between high and low tides. "Mussels are one of the most significant filter-feeders in the marine environment," said Brian Beal, a marine ecologist at the University of Maine at Machias. "They are responsible not only for efficiently producing high-quality protein but for cleaning the waters around them through their feeding activities." Because many creatures--especially humans--enjoy eating blue mussels, farmers grow mussels using aquaculture, or aquatic farming. Beal, along with a team of NSF-funded researchers at the University of Maine at Machias and the Downeast Institute, is investigating the growing conditions and practices that will reliably yield healthy and plentiful blue mussels. The researchers also are investigating exactly when to transition the young mussels into ocean pens, and where in the pens they grow best. Find out more in this discovery. Credit: Brian Beal, University of Maine at Machias, Division of Environmental and Biological Sciences These tiny creatures are Arctic surfclams. They're getting packed up for a trip to the shore. With some help, they're about to take up residence in an intertidal mudflat on the Maine coast, or 'Downeast' as they say around here, referring to ships sailing centuries ago from Boston east to Maine and downwind. The area's rich maritime history is not lost on Brian Beal, a marine ecologist with the University of Maine at Machias who has lived here all of his life and grew up working on the water. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Beal and a team based at the university's Marine Science Field Station at the Downeast Institute are putting their aquaculture innovation skills to work. The team's goals are to diversify the U.S. market for shellfish and increase the number of jobs in that market. The researchers are focused on two types of shellfish with the potential to bring more jobs and dollars to the area: blue mussels and Arctic surfclams. In the case of the latter, Arctic surfclams are not only a valuable species, but, Beal says, no one has ever tackled culturing them before. Arctic surfclams are a deepwater species that range from Rhode Island north to Newfoundland. Low densities have so far prevented the species from becoming a highly valued fishery in the U.S., but in Canada, there's a $50 million fishery off the southeast coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and off the Grand Banks, south of Newfoundland. The other species, blue mussels, aren't new to Maine. They've been a part of the seafood industry here for years. Beal would like to expand the market for blue mussels by making cultivation more of a turnkey operation by providing mussel growers with a choice between collecting wild seed (that depends each year on the vagaries of nature) and a more consistent hatchery-reared seedling. This is a Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI: BIC) project, which is focused on examining opportunities to create new marine aquaculture jobs in coastal Maine through shellfish research. The broader impacts of this research are related to increasing U.S. competitiveness in the seafood industry. "This NSF PFI project embodies a quintessential combination of science, engineering, technology, education, outreach and the pursuit of innovation," says Sara Nerlove, program director for the PFI: BIC program. "And because Brian Beal was born and raised in the area, we have a special research situation, one in which he's been able to capitalize on his thorough knowledge of the people and the local economy." Explore further: Key discovery made in war on sea lice infestations

Jillette N.,University of Maine at Machias | Jillette N.,Auburn University | Cammack L.,Auburn University | Cammack L.,Mt Desert Island Biological Laboratory | And 4 more authors.
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology | Year: 2011

The euryhaline green crab, Carcinus maenas, undergoes an annual cycle of salinity exposure, having to adapt to low salinity during its annual spring migration into estuaries, and then having to re-adapt to high salinity when it moves off-shore at the end of summer. Most studies have focused on low salinity acclimation, the activation of osmoregulatory mechanisms, and the induction of transport protein and transport-related enzyme activity and gene expression. In this study we followed the changes in hemolymph osmolality, carbonic anhydrase activity, and mRNA expression of three proteins through a complete cycle of low (15. ppt) and high (32. ppt) salinity acclimation. One week of low salinity acclimation resulted in hemolymph osmoregulation and a four-fold induction of branchial carbonic anhydrase activity. Relative mRNA expression increased for two CA isoforms (CAc 100-fold, and CAg 7-fold) and the α-subunit of the Na/K-ATPase (8-fold). Upon re-exposure to high salinity, hemolymph osmolality increased to 32. ppt acclimated levels by 6. h, and mRNA levels returned to high salinity, baseline levels within 1. week. However, CA activity remained unchanged in response to high salinity exposure for the first week and then gradually declined to baseline levels over 4. weeks. The relative timing of these changes suggests that while whole-organism physiological adaptations and regulation at the gene level can be very rapid, changes at the level of protein expression and turnover are much slower. It is possible that the high metabolic cost of protein synthesis and/or processing could be the underlying reason for long biological life spans of physiologically important proteins. © 2010.

Beal B.F.,University of Maine at Machias | Protopopescu G.C.,Downeast Institute for Applied Marine Research and Education
Journal of Shellfish Research | Year: 2012

Historically, stock enhancement programs for American lobster, Homarus americanus, have a common theme: production and release of large numbers of stage IV or stage V individuals. However, these animals are difficult to mark, highly mobile when released on the bottom, and susceptible to a wide array of predators, and their claws have yet to develop bilateral asymmetry. Many of these attributes make it difficult to test the efficacy of hatch-and-release efforts. It is possible to hold postlarval lobsters individually in the laboratory or hatchery and provide food regularly for several months to release older, larger individuals (as with enhancement efforts in Europe with Homarus gammarus). However, the costs to do so compared with the value of commercial-size animals makes this practice cost prohibitive. Attempts to reduce costs of rearing early postlarvae to larger sizes in ocean-based nursery cages in eastern Maine for periods of longer than 1 y have resulted in variable survival (in general, <50%) and slow growth (doubling in carapace length (CL) from 4.28.9 mm). A series of field trials (2004 to 2010) examined methods to improve survival rates and enhance growth with the goal of producing animals large enough to apply a physical tag that can be seen easily by fishers and scientists interested in testing directly the efficacy of enhancement efforts. The effect of flow rates into and out of various types of containers (350 mL and 440 mL) holding individual, cultured stage IV lobsters was examined experimentally during a 309-day period from August 2004 to July 2005 in off-bottom, ocean-based nursery cages deployed in shallow (12 m) water near Great Wass Island, Beals, ME. Mean survival rate varied directly with flow as animals in containers with the greatest exchange of seawater demonstrated survival rates of ca. 90% compared with ca. 30% in containers allowing lower flow rates. Sediment deposition in the low-flow rate containers tended to be high, and was associated with significantly lower mean lobster survival. In a separate field trial in shallow water from August 2009 to October 2010 (419 days), lobster growth in submerged wooden trays was assessed using 5 different container sizes that ranged from 0.020.26 m 2 (ca. 1.521 L). Growth was best described by a sigmoidal function, with a strong linear component over container sizes between 0.02 m 2 and 0.13 m 2 (ca. 1.510 L), and no significant difference observed in mean CL of lobsters in the largest 2 container sizes. Final mean CL and mass (23.9 ± 1.4 mm and 10.7 ± 2.1 g, respectively, ±95% CI) of animals in the 2 largest containers was 57.4% and 349% greater, respectively, than animals in the smallest containers. Rearing cultured individuals of H. americanus to large sizes in ocean-based nursery cages may provide managers of stock enhancement programs with a more viable assessment tool than those used traditionally.

Tan E.B.P.,University of Maine at Machias | Beal B.F.,University of Maine at Machias
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology | Year: 2015

Invasive species pose a threat to biodiversity in numerous marine ecosystems, and may have severe economic effects on commercially important species. The European green crab, Carcinus maenas, is one of the most common invaders of marine ecosystems globally. Since its invasion into eastern Maine, USA, during the early 1950's, populations of the soft-shell clam, Mya arenaria, have declined greatly. This has triggered the establishment of shellfish hatcheries and the development of aquaculture techniques to enhance the wild fishery. This study investigated interactions between C. maenas and cultured juveniles of M. arenaria both in the field and laboratory. In the field (Holmes Bay, Cutler, Maine), clam (initial mean shell length [SL] ±. 95% CI: 15.8. ±. 0.5. mm; n=. 30) survival was: 1) 7. × higher in predator deterrent treatments compared to open controls; 2) not improved by using rigid vs. flexible netting; and, 3) not improved by raising and supporting deterrent netting 5. cm above the sediment surface. Wild clam recruitment was 4x greater in protected vs. open experimental units. In laboratory trials using similar sized juvenile clams, green crabs consumed clams protected by predator deterrent netting, and in one case did so without leaving visible signs of chipping, crushing, or disarticulating the valves. Physical evidence, other than crushing, may be used to differentiate between clam death due to predation vs. suffocation, disease, or other sources of mortality. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Aguirre J.D.,Victoria University of Wellington | Aguirre J.D.,University of Queensland | McNaught D.C.,Victoria University of Wellington | McNaught D.C.,University of Maine at Machias
Marine and Freshwater Research | Year: 2012

The drivers of demographic variability in abalone are not well understood. Here, we examine ontogenetic variability in the habitat associations of black-foot abalone (Haliotis iris) populations in central New Zealand to better understand links between habitat variability and demographic variability in abalone. At larger, regional scales, there were west-to-east gradients in juvenile abundance, adult abundance and the size at which H. iris begin to occupy open reef habitats. At smaller, local scales, populations were depth-stratified, and there were two prominent transitions: a deep-to-shallow habitat transition during the juvenile stages; and a shallow-to-deep habitat transition during the adult stages. We also found that associations between abalone abundance and the size of the boulders, as well as associations between abalone abundance and the surface area of the interstitial spaces between boulders, differ among ontogenetic stages. For all stages, abundance was positively associated with crustose coralline algae cover, but negatively associated with articulated coralline algae cover. The relationship between canopy algae and adult abundance was positive, whereas for early juveniles, late juveniles and subadults, the relationship was weakly negative. Last, the association between the cover of understorey algae and abundance was negative for all ontogenetic stages. Overall, habitat variability played a strong, but ontogenetically variable, role in determining the abundance and distribution of H. iris. © CSIRO 2012.

McNaught D.C.,University of Maine at Machias | Norden W.S.,University of Maine at Machias
Aquatic Invasions | Year: 2011

Along the coast of Maine, recruitment of most invasive marine ascidians follows a generalized regional pattern, with higher recruitment rates at western sites. Using artificial collectors we found that Botryllus schlosseri, Botrylloides violaceus, Ciona intestinalis, Ascidiella aspersa and Styela clava were more abundant in the western (southwestern) sites than in the eastern (northeastern) sites. This general pattern also applies to a number of other recruiting species including native mussels, Mytilus spp., and the invasive crab, Carcinus maenas. While recruitment of many marine organisms can appear stochastic in space, there can be some consistent regional patterns. Higher recruitment in the western sites of Maine may be the result of greater oceanographic dispersal due to the westward flow of the Maine coastal current, higher seawater temperatures in the west, and more anthropogenic introductions having occurred in the western harbors. © 2011 REABIC.

The commercial fishery for American lobster Homarus americanus Milne Edwards in Maine has experienced the highest landings during the past 2 decades than at any time since the 1950s. However, there is no scientific consensus on why landings have increased nearly 250% from 1990 to 2010, and no one can predict how long landings can be expected to remain at current levels. This uncertainty has sparked a renewed interest in lobster stock enhancement using cultured individuals. Historically, lobster stock enhancement in North America has focused primarily on releasing early benthic phase (stage IV) animals. It is not cost-effective to feed and maintain animals in the laboratory or hatchery until they are larger (ca. stage XXI), as is typical of enhancement efforts with cultured individuals of Homarus gammarus (L.) in Europe, even though survival to commercial size presumably would be greater. One difficulty with releasing early benthic phase animals is that they have the capacity to swim away from the release site, making tests to determine the efficacy of such programs logistically difficult and expensive. A low-cost, low-maintenance, ocean-based nursery grow-out system for stage IV H. americanus was tested in waters off eastern Maine using technology first developed and implemented successfully for cultured individuals of H. gammarus in Ireland. A single individual was added to a plastic soda bottle (ca. 350 mL) or Petri dish (440 mL) containing a series of small holes to allow continuous flow of seawater into and out of the units. Bottles (n = 630) and dishes (n = 420) were added to rigid nursery cages constructed of traditional vinyl-coated lobster trap wire and deployed in July 2002 ca. 2 m off the bottom in depths of 10 m, 15 m, and 25 m in and around Chandler Bay near Jonesport. After nearly 70 days, survival in the bottles varied from 20% at the deepwater site to 90% at the shallow-water site; however, after an additional 244288 days, most bottles had filled with muddy sediments, and mortality rate was nearly 100%. Conversely, survival rates after 448 days in the dishes varied, on average, from 21.547.2% per cage originally deployed at the deepest and shallowest site, respectively. Growth rates in the dishes generally doubled during the 14-mo field trial from a carapace length of 4.2 mm to that of 8.9 mm. Results suggest that ocean nurseries can be used to rear cultured lobsters to larger sizes prior to release for stock enhancement purposes; however, these animals are too small to apply visible tags (i.e., streamer or T-bar tags) that fishers could discern easily.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 349.73K | Year: 2014

The MIST project aims to increase the success of STEM majors at the University of Maine at Machias (UMM), a small, rural, public liberal arts college with a curriculum built around issues of environmental and community sustainability. Like colleges in many rural and economically challenged regions, where educational attainment rates are significantly and chronically lower, UMM excels at providing critical education and workforce development, but science majors have lower retention and graduation rates than their peers. Persistence from the first to the second year of college has been identified as a key bottleneck limiting student success. The MIST project will transform the first-year experience for freshman science majors using practices shown to improve retention, focusing specifically on the needs of students who have risk factors associated with high drop-out rates, such as poverty, being the first in their family to attend college, or belonging to an underserved minority group. The project will build on the success of preliminary work by (1) instituting a 10-day summer program and other supports to help at-risk students transition to college, (2) restructuring tutoring services to supplement the instruction that students receive in classes, (3) incorporating more inquiry-based and problem-solving learning experiences, and (4) developing better approaches to career awareness and preparation. Increasing the number of STEM graduates will help to meet workforce demands while ensuring that students have access to rewarding and well-paid jobs locally.

The investigators will adapt key best practices to improve first-to-second-year retention rates. In particular, they will undertake the following four initiatives:

(1) Implementing a 10-day bridge program and residence hall learning communities to support transition to college and overcome barriers to attendance and success for at-risk students and underserved students (e.g., first-in-family college attendees, rural poor, and minority students). Questions to be used to measure success include: How effective are the various elements of the bridge program in (a) increasing STEM excitement and determination, (b) decreasing the need for developmental math courses, (c) creating effective study skills, and (d) increasing awareness of compelling STEM educational pathways and careers?

(2) Implementing a Supplemental Instruction (SI) program to boost student persistence and success by providing structured group instruction that is highly integrated with classroom and laboratory activities. Questions to be used to measure success include: What effects, if any, does SI/tutoring have on (a) student performance in tutored courses and (b) general MIST program goals (excitement, determination, study skills, awareness of and interest in STEM courses and careers)?

(3) Transforming instruction in all first-year STEM courses to incorporate more inquiry- and problem-based learning, career awareness, and engaging field experiences. Questions to be used to measure success include: What elements of transforming the instruction in key foundational courses (content, instructional technique, tutoring, etc.) are associated with (a) an increase in student achievement, satisfaction, confidence, and engagement and (b) first-to-second year retention?

(4) Developing career awareness and preparation activities and resources for first-year students. Questions to be used to measure success include: To what degree do the MIST career website and alumni-student exchange activities increase awareness in first-year students of STEM career opportunities and educational pathways?

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: PARTNRSHIPS FOR INNOVATION-PFI | Award Amount: 630.00K | Year: 2013

This Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity project from the University of Maine at Machias (the easternmost of the seven campuses in the University of Maine System) examines opportunities to create new marine aquaculture jobs and new wealth in east coastal Maine through shellfish research involving two commercially important species: blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) and Arctic surfclams (Mactromeris polynyma). Currently, mussels are cultured using juveniles sourced from the wild where spatial and temporal variation in both biotic and abiotic conditions does not allow for consistent annual production schedules. Surfclams are not cultured anywhere at present, and, although present in the Gulf of Maine, are harvested commercially only in the Canadian Maritimes where they are dredged hydraulically at depths greater than 20 meters. The surfclams are flash frozen and only their feet are marketed. The proposed activities advance knowledge and understanding within the field of shellfish aquaculture involving the hatchery, nursery, and growout phases of these two commercial bivalve species that have yet to be produced in shellfish hatcheries in the U.S. The research effort will yield information critical to other researchers and commercial businesses about the parameters that affect growth and survival of each species from early to later life-history stages.

The broader impacts of this research are related to increasing U.S. competitiveness in the seafood industry. For example, since 1990, U.S. mussel imports have increased from 2,600 tons to more than 15,000 tons. Over 90% of the imports come from two countries, New Zealand and Canada, because the domestic supply is inadequate to keep up with consumer demand. Other impacts involve mentoring undergraduate students in teaching, training, and learning through hands-on hatchery and field-based activities that will broaden participation of underrepresented groups (academic and geographic). The academic-small business partnership is fundamental to the shellfish research that creates a stronger, more efficient research infrastructure. As configured, this partnerships will lead to commercialization activities that are sustainable and compatible with the cultural heritage and ecological values of downeast Maine. PI Beal (a Fulbright Scholar) and co-PI Shumway (an Aldo Leopold Fellow) have extensive experience bridging the gap between industry and academia and will be active in the project as well as in outreach activities.

Partners at the inception of the project are the lead academic institution, University of Maine at Machias, a public, undergraduate institution of 1,000 students and 100 employees in eastern Maine; and three primary, small technology-based business partners: AC, Inc (Beals, ME), the largest wholesale seafood business in eastern Maine with 23 employees; New DHC Inc. (Machiasport, ME), a salmon aquaculture company in eastern Maine with 55 employees; and, Pemaquid Oyster Company, Inc. (Waldoboro, ME), a shellfish aquaculture company with 6 employees. Other academic and governmental partners include the University of Connecticut, Department of Marine Sciences (Avery Point, CT); Two branches of National Oceanic and Atmoshperic Administration (NOAA): National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in Milford, CT; and National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) in Charleston, SC.

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