Unity Fishbowl Talks is a colloquium series for Unity College faculty and invited outside speakers to discuss ideas on pedagogy and to present their scholarly work. These discussions and presentations address the need for a trans-disciplinary forum for teaching efforts at Unity College and also provide an interdisciplinary forum for discussions on research. It is at this intersection of teaching and research goals where speakers can make the most impact on Unity College students.
Attendance is highly encouraged, with most Fishbowl events occurring during community time on the second Thursday at noon or the third Tuesday at 11:00 am. The events take place in PW 204 and unless otherwise noted, include free lunch and a coffee discussion in the Student Center immediately after each presentation.
Fishbowl is generously sponsored by the Teaching Discussion Group and the Office of the President.
Spring 2014 Schedule:
"Outlook for North American Energy"
The energy sector in North America is undergoing fundamental changes, from newly discovered supplies of domestic, low-priced fossil fuel to innovations in technology. Coupled with an evolving policy landscape around conventional pollutants and carbon, the energy industry faces significant challenges in the decades ahead. Ms. Reishus will discuss some of the trends she sees that may reshape the energy industry in the future.
Sharon Reishus leads the development and delivery of research content for the IHS CERA North American Power Advisory Service. A national leader on energy issues, she served as chair of Maine Public Utilities Commission, and represented Maine at the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Eastern Interconnection State Planning Council (EISPC), and New England State Committee on Electricity (NESCOE). She is the past president of the New England Conference of Public Utility Commissioners (NECPUC).
Thursday, February 27
12:00 pm in PW 204
Mick Womersley, Unity College Professor of Human Ecology
“Measuring Maine’s Wind Energy: The State Wind Survey and the Future of Maine Renewable Energy"
Unity College faculty, staff and students were part of a statewide wind survey campaign from 2006 to 2013. A large database of anemometric data was created. This is the largest collection of wind data pertaining to Maine wind power resource that is currently available to the public and state officials. Systematically higher than expected wind shear was found, especially on wooded sites. The data show that Maine’s high hub height (80 meters or more above ground level) wind resource is systematically understated in wind maps, while the low hub height resource is systematically overstated. This has translated historically to over-optimism about, and overselling of, small-scale household turbines, while large-scale turbines (> 80 or 100 m) engender unrealistically low production expectations in the general public and officials during planning processes, and may be under-taxed as a partial result. The survey data are consistent with recent findings from other wooded areas of the United States and Europe, and with recent increases in the scale of turbine equipment employed by wind power development firms. We discuss the use of the new data in advanced wind mapping and related applications. We summarize broad implications for the community-based development of renewable energy and the cost-effective mitigation of climate pollution in Maine and New England.
Thursday, April 10
12:00 pm in PW 204
Ellen Batchelder, Unity College Assistant Professor of Cell Biology
"Nematodes: Cell Division, Worm Sperm, and Biodiversity"
My past work with the small soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has focused on the cytoskeleton, a series of filaments and tubes that support cell shape, division, and movement. Since cancerous cells grow, divide, and move in an unregulated way, basic research on the cytoskeleton helps us understand the mechanisms of cancer and to develop new treatments. Cell Division: While the process of cell division is similar to the contraction of muscle, my graduate work showed that, in C. elegans embryos, the signals that control timing of muscle contraction are not the same signals that control the contraction of the cell during division. Cell movement: Nematode sperm cells crawl, rather than swim. Their relatively simple nature makes them ideal for understanding how the cytoskeleton pushes and pulls to move cells forward. Using a biophysical approach we showed that the tension of the cell membrane is an important controlling factor on the cytoskeleton and cell speed. In the future, I hope to use my background with this species and with these techniques as a springboard for projects involving nematodes more broadly, for example, in studies of nematode diversity or of plant-parasitic nematode interactions.
Ellen Batchelder joined Unity College inspired to be working with colleagues to use basic science to illuminate broader environmental issues, by using nematodes as a model to understand how nematode pathogens interact with plants. When teaching, she aims to develop in students an appreciation and familiarity with biology at the cellular level, not only because cells are inherently fascinating, but because such knowledge provides the foundation for understanding the biology of organisms and informs concepts as varied as biofuel production and the effects of toxins on animal and human health.
Tuesday, April 15
11:00 am to 12:00 pm in PW 204
Earth Week Invited Speaker: Dr. Timothy Waring, University of Maine Sustainability Solutions Initiative
Support for this fishbowl comes from the Earth Week planning committee/Student Activities of Unity College.
"Evolutionary Implications for Sustainability Science"
11:00 am to 12:00 pm in PW 204
2014 Women’s Environmental Award Winner
Lara Hansen Ph.D., Executive Director and Chief Scientist for EcoAdapt
Lara Hansen thinks climate change is everybody's problem and she wishes someone would bother to do something about it. Her desire for action led her to co-create EcoAdapt with a team of similarly inclined folks in 2008. She serves this fine organization as Executive Director and Chief Scientist. She is co-author and editor of one of the earliest texts on the issue of natural system adaptation to climate change, Buying Time: A User's Manual for Building Resistance and Resilience to Climate Change in Natural Systems, as well as co-author of one of the newest books on adaptation, Climate Savvy: Adapting Conservation and Resource Management to a Changing World. The team that created these books created an engaged stakeholder process (first known as Climate Camp; now known as Awareness to Action Workshops) to help resource managers create adaptation strategies applicable to their work.
She serves on the unfairly maligned, vitally important Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is a Switzer Environmental Fellow and a United States Environmental Protection Agency Bronze Medalist. Prior to creating EcoAdapt, she was the chief climate change scientist for the World Wildlife Fund, creating their international Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program, from 2001-2008, and a Research Ecologist with the Environmental Protection Agency from 1998-2001. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis in Ecology and her B.A. in Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. To balance her scientific life, she works to integrate nature and art in her daily life. Because she's an optimist she assumes we'll get our acts together on climate change--who would want the alternative.
Thursday, April 24
12:00 pm to 12:30 pm in PW 204
Steve Kahl, Director of Sustainability, Unity College
"The Inconvenient Impervious Truth:
There are a myriad of proven environmental management strategies for stormwater that improve water quality, protect infrastructure, and provide for a sustainable future for water resources. What society is missing are the incentives to get developments, designers, regulators (and campuses) to change their way of doing business. This talk will present examples of Low Impact Development (LID) stormwater techniques and discuss new policies that will make LID the wave of the future for stormwater management.