Saving sea urchins
In some places along the Maine coast,
the spiny marine animals known as sea urchins have disappeared. That's
why for the past three years, University of Maine graduate student
Amanda Leland has worked closely with the sea urchin industry to
determine if the marine resource can be re-established in areas where
there has been intense harvesting in the last 15 years.
Evidence suggests that urchin populations probably will not recover
naturally. As a result, sea urchin harvesters, fishery managers and
scientists have been exploring options to restore urchin stocks and
manage the fishery. The results of Leland's marine biology research
could help to determine whether replanting urchins in depleted areas is
a viable management option.
In 2000, Leland received a Marine Studies Fellowship from the Maine
Department of Marine Resources and The University of Maine, which
created a fisheries liaison position that began her work with the sea
urchin industry. As a liaison, Leland helped to bridge the gap between
science, industry and policy by translating science to both harvesters
and resource managers.
"The harvesters have helped me realize the socioeconomic importance of
fishing in small, rural communities and the rationale behind their
concerns for the future of their industry," says Leland, who did her
undergraduate work at Purdue University.
This spring, Leland will be on Capitol Hill as a Dean John A. Knauss
Marine Policy Fellow. The competitive fellowship, offered by the
National Sea Grant College Program, places graduate students from across
the nation in positions with the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch.
This is the second consecutive year that a UMaine graduate student has
been selected for the fellowship.
Leland says the Knauss Fellowship program will provide the experience in
federal marine policy that she needs to become an effective marine
Opting to co-op
UMaine chemical engineering junior P.J. Dumont of Holden, Maine, is
between jobs. Co-op jobs.
This past summer, he gained cooperative education experience working at
the International Paper mill in Bucksport, Maine. He's headed back in
January for a semester-long internship.
Dumont was awarded a co-op position coordinated by The University of
Maine's Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and offered in
cooperation with industrial employers.
On the job, Dumont is working as a junior chemical engineer, gaining
paid professional experience. He is part of a process engineering team
that monitors the quality of the papermaking process, including
troubleshooting through computer data analysis.
"It's interesting to see the actual process of making paper — from the
size of the machines to the steps in creating it," Dumont says.
"Especially after next semester, my co-op experience will help me decide
While chemistry was Dumont's forte in high school, he was unclear what
career path to pursue. He enrolled in UMaine's Academic and Career
Exploration (ACE) program, designed to give students an opportunity to
research the academic programs that match their abilities and
intellectual or career interests.
For Dumont, the choices range from pulp and paper to pharmaceutical