New Second Century fellowships announced  

Three scientists have been awarded fellowships to conduct research in Acadia National Park as part of Second Century Stewardship, an initiative of the National Park Service, Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park and the National Park Foundation. 

Second Century Stewardship was launched in 2016 upon the centennial of the National Park Service to provide relevant scientific research for park stewardship, build public engagement with science and pursue solutions to critical issues for parks and society. 

After reviewing dozens of applications from nine states, three research fellows were selected: 

Rachel Fowler, laboratory coordinator with UMaine School of Biology and Ecology; 

Bonnie Newsom, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Maine; and Jay Wason, assistant professor of forest ecosystem physiology at the University of Maine. 

“These research fellowships apply the power of modern science to explore issues of great importance.  

The Second Century Stewardship approach to research, science communication and citizen science has been integrated with the efforts of more than 60 parks and partners across the national park system. 

Fowler has been monitoring water quality in Jordan Pond as an aquatic scientist with Friends of Acadia since 2016. She aims to develop an early warning system for detecting blooms of cyanobacteria, a kind of algae that thrive in warm, nutrient-rich waters and can be toxic to people and animals. According to Acadia National Park biologist Bill Gawley, this information can help park staff anticipate water quality problems, communicate potential risk in a timely manner and protect visitor safety and ecological integrity of Acadia’s lakes. 

Newsom will analyze existing archaeological collections from shell midden sites in Acadia National Park to chronicle past occupation and use, and generate a baseline data set for future studies of indigenous peoples and their connections to the region 

Wason will study coastal spruce-fir forests in Acadia. Scientists and park managers know very little about how these forests change as they age, or how sensitive they are to climate shifts. Wason plans to replicate historical surveys of Acadia forests to see how they, and the climate, have changed over the past 60 years, with the goal of informing projections of how they might change in the next 60 years.  

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