June 27, 2011

Taking off on the wings of research

A Maine institute that did pioneering work with birds becomes a major player in environmental research.

By Beth Quimby bquimby@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Allyson Jackson, BioDiversity Research Institute's forest songbird program manager, applies a band to a 10-day-old sparrow at the River Point Conservation Area in Falmouth, where a study focuses on bird migration.

Photos by Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

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Patrick Keenan, BioDiversity Research Institute's outreach director, inspects a male downy woodpecker in Falmouth.

Tim Greenway

Additional Photos Below

BRI researchers Patrick Keenan and Allyson Jackson are spending the season studying the migratory birds that pass through the area and the breeding success of the resident black-capped chicadee, tree swallow and house wren population.

Now in its first year, the Falmouth study will continue for years to give scientists a better idea of the movement of birds along the Maine coast.

With the Gulf of Mexico work winding down, the institute has gotten more involved in worldwide mercury research for the United Nations, which is trying to locate the world's mercury hot spots as it works on a global mercury treaty for 2013.

BRI scientists are monitoring yellow-billed loons in Russia as part of that effort.

Evers said the good news about mercury is that levels are decreasing in the United States, thanks to environmental regulations. But levels are increasing in other parts of the world, such as China.

Evers will outline BRI's work in the Gulf of Mexico to the public at 4 p.m. Tuesday on the seventh floor of Glickman Library at USM's Portland campus.

He also will unveil a number of new initiatives, such as public excursions to the tropics to work with scientists in the field, and a new internship program.

The newly redesigned website and logo should be available online at www.briloon.org on Tuesday.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:



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Additional Photos

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Jackson untangles gray catbirds caught in a net at the River Point Conservation Area in Falmouth, where the birds were being banded.


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