A map of Maine's ice age
Down East Maine's Ice Age trail is now mapped in
detail in a travelers' guide, newly published by the University of
The trail stretches from Mount Desert Island north along the state's
rugged coast, where, 16,000 years ago, the last great North American
continental ice sheet sculpted the mountains of Acadia National Park and
left the spectacular sand barrens where Maine's wild blueberry crop
grows. Maine's Ice Age Trail: Down East Map & Guide provides directions
and information about more than 46 geological features visible or
accessible along roads and highways in the state.
Development of the map and guide, spearheaded by
UMaine glacial geologist Harold Borns and cartographer Michael Hermann,
was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
A graphic publicizing the trail nationwide is found
on 1,200 new moving vans as part of U-Haul International's Venture
Across America Campaign.
More information about Maine's Ice Age Trail: Down
East Map & Guide is on the Web (iceagetrail.umaine.edu).
Cash vs. Card
A study of the effectiveness of monetary and nonmonetary incentives in surveys found that more people responded when
offered $2 cash than when provided $2 and $5 phone cards, according to
findings recently published in the International Journal of Public
In addition, the research found that those who took
the $1 cash or $2 or $5 phone card incentives provided very different
survey responses, an indication that biases in data can result by
attracting individuals from certain segments of a population.
Resource economists Mario Teisl from the University
of Maine and Brian Roe from Ohio State, and Michael Vayda, an associate
dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University
of Vermont, surveyed people in Maine and throughout the U.S. concerning
their perceptions of food and food processing. They also wanted to gauge
consumers' knowledge about the prevalence, risks and benefits of
genetically modified (GM) foods.
Most of the more than 2,200 responses — 34 percent —
came from survey recipients who received $2 incentives.
The response rates were similar using $1 cash, and
$2 and $5 phone cards. However, there were important differences across
incentive groups in how individuals evaluated the risks and benefits of
Crossing the line
The installation of centerline rumble strips and
median barriers could significantly reduce or eliminate the number of
head-on motor vehicle crashes that result in almost half of all
fatalities on Maine rural roads, according to University of Maine
Professor of Civil Engineering Per Garder.
Two major reasons were cited for why people cross
the centerline and have head-on collisions: speeding and driver
Garder analyzed three years of Maine Department of
Transportation data, from 2000–02, during which there were 3,136 head-on
crashes reported. He found more than two out of three of all fatal
crashes in Maine during this period occurred on two-lane collector or
arterial roads, the result of driver error or misjudgment.
Two in three fatal head-on crashes occurred on
straight segments of road and 67 percent of these were on dry pavement.
According to Garder, whose findings were published
in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, higher speed limits
lead to a higher percentage of crashes resulting in fatalities or
incapacitating injuries. He also found the severity of crashes increases
with wider shoulders and more travel lanes.
Parents as academic predictors
Parents' perceptions of their preschoolers' language
impairments are the best predictors of the children's reading, writing
and math achievement once they get in school, according to a University
of Maine study.
The findings, published recently in the Journal of
Communication Disorders, support the need to go beyond standardized
testing in measuring preschool speech and language. They also underscore
the contribution that parental input can make in developing a
comprehensive profile of children's communication abilities and an
effective plan for managing language impairment.
From a longitudinal database compiled in a National
Institutes of Health study, UMaine researchers Nancy Hall and Veronica
Segarra looked at what preschool speech and language measures were most
predictive of later academic achievement in reading, spelling, writing
and math. They studied data compiled on 35 children with language
impairments, beginning when they were preschoolers through age 9.
The researchers found that reports of parents were
the best predictors of school-age academic achievement because they
reflected the children's communicative competence, including skills such
as problem solving. Such parental input also can help clinicians and
teachers better understand the youngsters' verbal and nonverbal
abilities — and treatment needs that are so vital in addressing future
"Parent input is crucial to understanding a child's
speech, language and academic potential," says Hall, an associate
professor and chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and
Disorders. "It should be sought — and valued."
When the UMaine study began, Veronica Segarra was a
high school student in the Math-Science Upward Bound Program. She is now
a graduate student at the University of Connecticut in communication
sciences and disorders.
For religious reasons
Unmarried adults who are religious are more likely
than those who are less religious to have fewer sexual partners, in part
because of the moral disapproval of premarital sex, according to a new
study by a University of Maine sociologist.
Using data from the national General Social Survey,
Steven Barkan found that the religiosity of never-married adults has a
consistent, fairly strong and statistically significant deterrent effect
on the number of sexual partners. The belief that premarital sex is
wrong was a major reason for this effect.
Barkan's study, one of the first to look at the
relationship between religiosity and adult sexuality, is part of a
growing body of research on the deterrent effect of religion. Most
research on religiosity and deviance has involved adolescents.
The findings were recently published in the Journal
for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Winning lessons on lady beetles
Invasive lady beetles were in the spotlight in
Vienna, Austria, this past fall when University of Maine Ph.D. student
Christy Finlayson placed first in the 4th European Conference on
Biological Invasions poster competition with her project "Considering Biocontrol and Biological Invasions: An Experimental Unit for Primary
and Secondary School Classrooms."
Selected from more than 200 other posters,
Finlayson's entry was the only one that focused on education with regard
to biological invasions. The poster, created by Finlayson and
schoolteachers Charlotte Carrier, Storie Brown and Arthur Libby, was
based on her work with fourth–fifth and 10th–12th graders as a National
Science Foundation GK–12 Fellow. The GK–12 program connects graduate
students with primary and secondary school students and their teachers.
Finlayson's research focuses on lady beetles and the
effects of non-native species on native populations in agricultural and
natural systems. She says her work as a GK–12 Fellow helped her learn
how to speak to people outside of the scientific community about the
impact of invasives and what can be done about them.
Finlayson's poster outlined her collaboration with
teachers in the Brewer, Bucksport and Hampden school systems, where she
used hands-on activities to teach about biocontrol techniques and
bioinvasions using lady beetles. The students raised potato plants
infested with aphids and tested lady beetles against other methods for
controlling the pests. Lady beetles are good predators of aphids, but
can, themselves, become invasive.
Eating close to home
Seals are a major cause of loss for salmon farmers.
But that loss can be minimized by siting future farms 2.5 miles from
seal haul-outs, according to two UMaine wildlife ecologists.
A three-year study found that Maine's marine salmon
farms could significantly reduce predation by establishing a minimum
distance from seal resting areas and by limiting concentrations of
finfish aquaculture sites close to haul-outs.
Wildlife ecologists Jim Gilbert and Marcy Nelson
also found that it didn't matter how many harbor seals are found at
haul-outs near salmon farms, because it only takes repeated visits by a
few insatiable individuals to raise havoc.
Patterns of seal predation were documented at
Maine's more than 35 marine salmon farms, located between the bays of
Blue Hill and Cobscook. The majority of farm managers in Maine's finfish
aquaculture industry say that the greatest predatory threat to stock
comes from seals, which are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection
The researchers' findings were reported in the
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.
Excluding black sheep
Dissension in the ranks can threaten any group. One
way to tackle it is by devaluing those who stray from the group's norms.
Another is to recategorize the deviate as "not one of us."
In a recent psychology study, real-world groups
(i.e., pro-war Republicans) were asked to evaluate a deviant group
member before or after setting acceptable boundaries for members' views.
Not surprisingly, those who challenged the group were devalued. More
interesting, these "black sheep" were evaluated more positively if they
first were excluded from the group's boundaries. These findings suggest
that devaluation of black sheep had as its goal their removal from the
Social psychologist Scott Eidelman from the
University of Maine and colleagues from the University of North Carolina
at Greensboro and the University of Kansas published their findings in a
recent issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
Changing owners, changing harvesting
Between 1994 and 2000, almost 80 percent of the
industrial forests in a nearly 4.5 million-acre study area in
northwestern Maine changed ownership, influencing timber harvest
intensity over time.
Using satellite imagery, University of Maine forest
scientists Suming Jin and Steven Sader evaluated the timber harvest
patterns in an effort to better understand current and future forest
composition and structure over multiple ownerships.
During the six-year period, approximately 75 percent
of the forestlands were sold to timber investment management
organizations, with 25 percent sold to other industrial owners, who then
parceled tracts to nongovernment organizations and loggers/short-term
investors. The UMaine researchers found that, in the 1990s and early
2000s, timber investment management organizations and logger/short-term
investors had higher harvesting rates the than industrial owners.
Nonindustrial private forest owners demonstrated more stable rates of
harvesting over time.
Forestland with no ownership changes had
significantly lower harvest rates than those that changed hands between
1994 and 2000.
Sales of several tracts of timber investment owners'
land to loggers between 2000 and 2004 suggest that the timber investment
management organizations may be willing to turn over some forest
holdings in a shorter time, compared to the nonindustrial owner group.
The researchers' findings were recently published in
the journal Forest Ecology and Management.