FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington Department of Geology has been awarded a $20,000 Quimby Family Foundation grant to study the effects of climate change on high elevation ponds in Maine.

This grant was awarded to Julia Daly, UMF associate professor of geology, and is one of only two Quimby Family Foundation grants to be received by a university within the University of Maine System since the grant’s inception.

“I was thrilled when I received the notice from the Quimby Family Foundation,” Daly said. “I knew this was a very competitive year, but I also knew the significance of this research and the answers that were possible because of it.”

An outgrowth of a smaller-scale pilot study conducted by Daly, the high elevation pond research project will concentrate on field research conducted during the summer of 2010. It focuses on the use of student research to better understand how water temperature variability in ponds affects pond geology and the sensitive life forms in that enclosed environment. Data for the study will be gathered at Maine ponds on Tumbledown Mountain and Bigelow Mountain, with other potential sites on the Appalachian Trail.

Funds from the grant will provide stipends for three students, purchase new weather station monitoring equipment and help pay for related research expenses. The three UMF students chosen for the selective undergraduate research project will be determined by Daly based on their academic standing and level of outdoor skills and experience.

These student researchers will be hiking to all of the ponds in the study and using a small inflatable kayak to deploy data loggers in the waters. Water temperature readings will then be collected by the students, analyzed, and used to develop a baseline to determine changes in the ponds over time.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for UMF students to become engaged in a real world problem and see what kind of impact climate change is having on sensitive mountain areas in western Maine,” Daly said.

She hopes this initial year will be a springboard to establish this research project in the future, producing valuable data that will help local and state agencies preserve this fragile Maine environment.

The Quimby Family Foundation was formed in 2004 by Roxanne Quimby a businesswoman, environmentalist and philanthropist. The mission of this organization is to advance wilderness values and to increase access to the arts throughout Maine.


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