They do this work in classes, internships, independent studies, and for their senior project.
Compost and Community: A Case Study
by Lisa Bjerke
Through this project I aim to better comprehend COA’s understanding of the human role in managing ecological services on campus.
I examine the ways in which the community views and engages with the organic material in the campus landscape. Through intimate exploration of the interconnectedness between different activities on campus, I have been able to outline the past and current efforts with composting and organic material management.
I have gathered historical information around organic material management at COA, and I have organized and structured my own documentation of compost and landscape management.
A Natural History Guide to Birds of Mount Desert Island, Maine
by Anna Stunkel
As a student, Anna led weekly bird walks around the island. This illustrated guide is the culmination of her senior project.
Experiments in Thermophilic Composting Toilet Design
by Abraham Noe-Hays
Humanure (the urine and feces of human beings) is a rich source of nutrients that has sustained agricultural systems around the world and throughout the ages. Yet despite humanure’s great potential value, and despite countless examples of its successful reuse set by 100 generations of Asian farmers, most technologically developed nations have come to treat humanure as a waste, fit only for disposal.
Typically, it is mixed with pure drinking water and flushed into sewers where it mingles with all manner of industrial toxins.
It is in this context that I present the following experiment, the goal of which was to develop a toilet system that could compost humanure at temperatures exceeding 55°C, guaranteeing the destruction of all human pathogens. Such a system would create a product that the user could freely, safely, and legally apply to all food crops, thereby closing the nutrient cycle and obviating the need for external fertilizer inputs.
by Alisa Nye, dru colbert
A collaborative document forged by ten different culturally-immersed artists, both students and teachers alike, all with their own take on life and work abroad in Vichy, France.
Contains photography, journal entries, poetry, and more.
As Above, So Below
by Joslyn Richardson
In this presentation, Josyln shares excerpts of her animation created using microscopes at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor.
Exploring the Efficiency of Badger Culling in Preventing the Spread of Bovine Tuberculosis in the UK
by Xochitl Ortiz RossRelated Course(s):
In the UK, incidence of Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle has been found to be correlated with incidence of the disease in badgers (Meles meles). Different methods of badger culling have been employed for the control of bTB, but disease incidence has continued to increase.
Field studies indicate that culling disrupts badger social structure, leading them to behave in a manner that increases contact rates and hence disease transmission. This paper will demonstrate that culling is indeed likely to increase disease incidence and that this is largely due to social perturbation.
Bioremediation with Mushrooms
by Ella Samuel
Mushrooms are bioremediators: They break down recalcitrant chemical contaminants, sequester heavy metals, bind toxic metals in the soil, and stimulate microbial metabolism and decomposition, thus promoting vital ecosystem processes in degraded ecosystems. By investigating the potential benefits of Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster mushroom) for modifying contaminated soil from the Callahan Mine, a superfund site in Brooksville, Maine, we are exploring the unique intersection of fungi and conservation biology. (Poster presented at the Botany 2015 conference in Edmonton, Alberta.)
- Read the full abstract
Herring Gull and Greater Black Backed Gull Chick Growth on Great Duck Island
by Audra Novine McTague
Two assistants and I selected 34 nests that were checked on a daily basis as long as the weather was not too cold or wet for the chicks
The strong correlation between the age of both species of gulls and their weight, as well as the correlation between their age and head to bill length, is a strong enough indicator to predict either measurements based on their age, and age can also be predicted based on the chick’s head to bill length.
Arboretum of Eden
by Marketa Doubnerova
This online collection features information about College of the Atlantic’s on-campus arboretum.
The site includes printable and interactive maps, history, a botanical glossary, and species information.
Natural History and Breeding Biology of the Black Guillemot
by Meaghan Lyon
The Black Guillemot is found breeding on Great Duck Island. From June 8 until early August I conducted 143 hours of observation and 168 hours of intensive nest searching, finding a total of 176 nests, which I then followed from incubation to hatching and into the chick-provisioning state.
Tracking Derelict Fishing Gear: A Buoy Island Map
by Robin Owings
An ongoing study of drift patterns of lobster buoys and other marine flotsam in order to determine the distribution and origin of marine debris in the Acadia region. During the summer of 2011, 1517 buoys were photographed and documented on Great Duck Island (GDI). These buoys have subsequently been mapped based on likely points of origin according to ownership patterns.
This Dark Sea
by Moses Bastille
“This Dark Sea” is the culminating animation of Moses’s research about underwater exploration and deep sea creatures.
Plastic in Our Oceans: The Story of our Persistent Pollution Problem
by Marina Garland
Marina presents her senior project about marine plastic pollution in Frenchman Bay.
Live at the Gates Auditorium
by Nathaniel Hillard
The Nathaniel Hilliard Sextet recorded a digital album during their performance of Nathaniel’s original compositions.
Augment, A Novel
by Heather HaydenRelated Course(s):
An excerpt from Chapter One.
It felt like I was flying.
My sneakers gripped the pavement and pushed off again, one after the other. Leg muscles and implants worked together to send me soaring down the sidewalk. I could feel the contact with hard concrete through my soles as electronic and biological nerves interfaced. The implants that formed my lower legs and right knee were as much a part of me as my elbows, which pumped by my sides.
Animation: After the ICU
by Riley Thompson
A hand-made animation about trauma in the Intensive Care Unit, and the physiological processes that lead to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
Predation on Common Eider Ducklings on Great Duck Island
by Sarah E.A. Spruce
Since the 1920s, Great Black-Backed Gulls have increased in frequency in the Gulf of Maine, raising concerns over possible effects on Common Eider populations from over-predation.
In order to assess whether predation rates on ducklings by Great Black-Backed Gulls are affected by human disturbances, particularly researcher created disturbance, we observed a Common Eider nursery from a vantage point that nullified observer effects.
Podcasting the Human Body
by Emily Hollyday
When I was in 5th grade, my classmate, Luke, and my teacher, Mr. Eaton, both had diabetes. Many of us in the class wondered why Luke could have gatorade in the middle of class and why Mr. Eaton often checked the blue device that he wore on his hip.
My aim is to create educational podcasts and life science modules in which students learn about concepts in science through personal stories.
A Vision for Town Hill
by Land Use Planning ClassRelated Course(s):
The objective of this presentation was for the Land Use class to report to residents of Town Hill with the results of a visioning session, and to present additional research that may be important to the planning process in general.
This work is intended to be a stepping off point for further dialog between residents and planners as the Bar Harbor planning office moves ahead to draft a “Mini Plan” for Town Hill.
Lyme Disease in Maine: The Science and Stories of an Emerging Epidemic
by Ellie Oldach
Lyme disease is the most prevalent vector-borne disease reported in the United States, and it is spreading particularly quickly in Maine.
My project is titled “The Science and Stories of Lyme Disease”, and throughout the research process, I constantly rediscovered how deeply these two aspects intertwined. Scientific articles and community conversations fed off of each other, and built into my growing understanding of the spider web-like nature of this disease.
Progress towards Modeling Red Tides and Algal Blooms
by Maxim LoweRelated Course(s):
Conditions in the ocean sometimes allow specific species to populate so quickly that these species form dense aggregations of individuals. Many species of microscopic algae in particular are known to form in these dense aggregations, or “blooms.”
In this paper, one method of predicting whether or not blooms will occur involves exploring the impact of grazing zooplankton on algae populations, and how the toxin produced by the phytoplankton affects those zooplankton populations.
Fiction: The Water Cycle
by Eloise Schultz
At some point, she stopped wearing the ring. I noticed when I came home from the library, helping her peel wax off the kitchen counter. When I asked, she told me that it had slipped off while she was swimming and sunk to the bottom of the lake. They searched for it, a gold glint in the mud and pebbles, but soon gave up.
It made sense that way; there were two things that she had been given by her mother and presumably her mother before that; two things that she managed to find wherever she went; the two things that she would eventually give to me, her eldest daughter: water and loss.
Burrow Distribution and Habitat Parameters in Leach’s Storm Petrel
by Anna Caroline Perry
Historically, efforts to estimate nesting populations of Leach’s Storm Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) have produced variable results.
On Great Duck Island (GDI), census numbers for this species have ranged from 800 to 16,000 breeding pairs (Ambagis 2002). In the most recent census for GDI, Ambagis (2002) calculated that the island supports 9,300 + 6,500 pairs. The high degree of variation in these population estimates may reflect the patchy distribution of this species’ inconspicuous nesting sites, or burrows. To increase the accuracy of future census efforts on GDI, this study sought to refine a model that would account for the distribution of petrel burrows on the island.
Preferential Utilization of Rocky Coastline Habitat by Herring Gulls
by Aspen Reese
The Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) has an extensive Holarctic distribution encompassing many habitat types. In order to isolate possible factors contributing to nesting site selection, this study analyzed the effects of territoriality concerns, presence of nesting Great Blackbacked Gulls, and chick survivorship as a function of habitat choice.
Culvert Operations: Stormwater Management in Ellsworth, Maine
by Land-Use Planning Class, 2014Related Course(s):
Stormwater infrastructure in various parts of Maine is facing increasingly heavy strain and increasingly frequent failure from stormwater.
Working with the University of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI), we as students had the opportunity to work on an actual problem and do applied work rather than a theoretical study, and the city of Ellsworth was provided with valuable information.
Revisiting MacArthur’s Classic Study of Niche Partitioning of Spruce Wood Warblers
by Bik Wheeler
In 1956 and 1957, Robert H. MacArthur studied the ecology of five species of the genus Setophaga (wood warbler), resulting in contributions to the theory of niche partitioning. MacArthur asserted that the five Setophaga are sympatric species that evolved to occupy separate behavioral niches.
My methodology was designed to allow a direct comparison with the original study, while utilizing current technology and allowing flexibility in the analysis.
New Species of Lichens in Hawaii
by Ian Medieros
Of 14 species of [lichens] … collected on the islands of Oahu, Maui, and Kaua‘i, eight are new to science. (Poster presented at the Botany 2015 conference in Edmonton, Alberta.)
APOE Stabilization by Exercise Prevents Aging Neurovascular Dysfunction and Complement Induction
by Weronika Grabowska
COA student Weronika Grabowska is a co-author on a paper detailing the roles that exercise and genetics play with regards to neurovascular aging in mice. The piece shows that exercise from middle to older age preserves the cerebrovascular health, prevents behavioral deficits and reduces age-related neuroinflammation in the cortex and hippocampus in aged mice. Mice deficient in APOE, a gene associated with longevity and Alzheimer’s disease, are resistant to the beneficial effects of exercise, suggesting a possible mediating role for APOE in the maintenance and function of the neurovascular system during aging.
The paper appeared in the peer-reviewed journal, PLOS Biology.
Learning from the Land
by Nimisha Bastedo
Having grown up in Yellowknife, I am drawn towards returning home to northern Canada as an educator.
Realizing I had (and still have) much to learn about education in this setting, I am very grateful to the Deh Gáh School staff and community members for being open to having me work with them throughout this project.
A Study of Cooperation Waves in the Spatial Iterated Prisoners Dilemma
by Aura F. SilvaRelated Course(s):
The model presented in this paper aims to provide a powerful insight on the classic Spatial Iterated Prisoners Dilemma game, and how an invading wave of Tit-for-Tat (TFT) individuals could invade a hostile population dominated by an Always-Defect (AD) strategy.
This particular form of the game has previously been studied in a one-dimensional system. The main contribution of this paper is an adaptation to provide a 2-dimensional version that can be reproduced and analyzed.
“The Baker, Agnes”
by Navi WhittenRelated Course(s):
This is a short documentary for and about Agnes, who has been baking since 1972. It was made in the last two weeks before she closed her shop.
With Agnes Smit and Robert Phipps
- Ethnography & Documentary
- Intermediate Video: Studio and Strategies
- Five Women Directors Discuss their Art and Craft at the New Horizons Film Festival (Filmmaker Magazine)
The Restaurant Project
by Devin L. Altobello
This video chronicles a pop-up restaurant organized by students at College of the Atlantic (COA) in Bar Harbor, Maine. It functions to promote The Restaurant and acts as an aesthetic appreciation of the one-night event.
Blog: A Lot of Yesterdays
by Emily Peterson
I am interested in aging, and how our society views old age.
I created this blog as a way to inform the Mount Desert Island (MDI) community on current news and research regarding elderly care. I include interviews, entries on dementia care, caring for caregivers, medications, exercise, and more.
An Examination of Potential Predation threats to the Common Eider at a Mixed Offshore Seabird Colony
by Nina Duggan
During 141 hours of observation on Great Duck Island there were a total of five predation attempts by great black-backed gulls on eider chicks, with no successful predation.There was stalking behavior exhibited by harbor and grey seals, and predation attempts observed by bald eagles. The defensive behavior of the female eiders proved to be effective against predation with no successful predation upon their chicks observed.