UMaine Lab solves environmental problems
ORONO, Maine (WABI) – The University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension Research and Diagnostics Laboratory serves as a hub for environmental research on a number of issues related to the Pine Tree State.
We stopped for the tour of Governor Mills facilities and learned more about their mission.
Much has changed in the four years since the UMaine Diagnostics and Research Laboratory opened, but the exploration mission remains the same.
After securing state funding for the lab, Governor Mills got a hands-on insight.
“This is an example of world-class research and world-class education taking place right here in Orono, Maine,” Mills said. “It’s all very recent research and current data on current issues.”
The facility has extensive aquaculture resources, a necropsy room and a plant pathology center, but it was the tick research lab – with potted samples of massive winter ticks – that let a lasting impression.
“We are at the forefront of research management strategies and also look at different types of diseases and new diseases that are emerging online, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever in Connecticut,” said lab director Jim Dill.
The projects studied in the laboratory will make it possible to answer environmental questions such as diseases caused by tick bites and the future of the lobster population, amid coastal climate change.
“One of my favorite projects is actually with WL Gore, Gore Tex, where we’re looking at a pest of Atlantic salmon,” said Debbie Bouchard, director of the Aquaculture Research Institute. “From this scale of Petri dishes, we are now carrying out a complete study of the marine site.”
It all adds up to a great learning opportunity.
“During the year, we have around 20 students working here at different times. This is a great opportunity for them to learn lab skills etc. said Dill.
It’s a great resource for everyone in the state of Maine, not just students and faculty, but people who can use the results from this lab,” said Mills.
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