Maritime Shorts

Ocean warming research    

ORONO — A team of researchers from the University of Maine Darling Marine Center in Walpole and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay and Maine Department of Marine Resources in West Boothbay Harbor recently published their research on the effects of ocean warming and acidification on gene expression in the earliest life stages of the American lobster.  

The work was published in the scientific journal Ecology and Evolution with collaborators from the University of Prince Edward Island and Dalhousie University in Canada. 

The team’s experiments examined the gene regulatory response of postlarval lobsters to the separate and combined effects of warming and acidification anticipated by the end of the 21st century. They found that genes regulating a range of physiological functions, from those that control shell formation to the immune response, are either up- or down-regulated. Importantly, they observed that the two stressors combined induced a greater gene regulatory response than either stressor alone. 

The results from the study indicate that changes in gene expression of postlarval lobster may act as a mechanism to accommodate rapid changes in the ocean environment.  

According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, the American lobster fishery is the most valuable in North America. The species holds particular socioeconomic importance in the Gulf of Maine, where sea surface temperatures are increasing at a rate faster than most of the world’s oceans and waters are more susceptible to higher rates of acidification. 

The center of the American lobster range has been shifting northward in response to warming ocean temperatures. However, little is known about how the species will respond to the combined effects of increasing ocean temperatures and acidification. This study is a first step in answering that question. The species’ earliest life stages are thought to be especially vulnerable to these climate related challenges. 


 Island Institute staff change  

ROCKLAND — After 18 years with the Island Institute, eight of them as president, Rob Snyder has announced that he will be stepping down from his leadership role at the end of April. During his tenure, Snyder has been a driving force behind the growth and success of the Rockland-based nonprofit and its support for Maine’s island and coastal communities. 

Snyder will be going to work for ACME Smoked Fish Corp. as its first culture and sustainability officer. ACME Smoked Fish is a privately owned company based in Brooklyn, N.Y., with manufacturing facilities across the eastern United States, Chile and Denmark. 

Over the next several months, the board of trustees will be working with a recruitment firm to conduct a national search for the Island Institute’s next president. As of March 15, Rob Beams, chief operating officer at the Island Institute, will serve as interim president for the duration of the recruitment process.  


Aquaculture webinars scheduled 

ELLSWORTH — Three online aquaculture-related programs, presented by various local organizations, are scheduled for Feb. 25 and 26. 

Blue Hill Heritage Trust is sponsoring a webinar titled “Soft-Shell Clams in a Changing Climate: How Seawater Temperatures and Predators Regulate Populations Along the Maine Coast” on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 4 p.m. 

Commercial landings of soft-shell clams have declined by nearly 75 percent in the past 40 years while, at the same time, seawater temperatures have increased steadily. Fishery-independent data from more than 30 years of experimental field research and large-scale sampling of flats along the coast have helped to interpret the losses in this iconic fishery. 

Because many important predators (both native and invasive) of clams are invertebrates, increasing temperatures have resulted in increased predation rates that have contributed to the widespread loss of clams. This program will focus on numerous field trials and how results of these may be applied on large scales to effect positive changes in the fisheries. 

Speaker Brian Beal teaches courses in marine biology and experimental design and conducts research on commercially important shellfish at the University of Maine at Machias. 

For more information or to register, call 374-5118. 

The Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries in Stonington presents the next installment of its Online Lunch & Learn series on Friday, Feb. 26, at 12:30 p.m. with “The Sweet and Salty of Maine’s Sea Scallop Fishery.” 

Maine’s sea scallop fishery is a modernday success story as landings have rebounded in recent years with an estimated landed value of $4.5 million in 2019. During this webinar, participants will hear about the current status of the science, policy and markets for the fishery and its prospects for the future. 

Registration is required and space is limited. To register for this free online program, go to 

Also on Friday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m., the Friends of Taunton Bay will present an online program on seaweed aquaculture. 

Is seaweed really good for humans? Is it easy to grow? If so, who’s doing it and where? 

To answer those questions and more, join this live Zoom webinar with Sarah Redmond, founder of Springtide Seaweed LLC. Redmond will explain the basics of cultivating underwater sea plants, as well as the exceptional health benefits of eating seaweed products. 

To register, email [email protected] Zoom instructions will be given upon registration. 

For more information, call Gerry at 408-1413 or Alice at 565-2113. 

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