Ted Ames, a founding board member of Penobscot East Resource Center and senior advisor became the 2010-2011 Coastal Studies Scholar. Penobscot East Resource Center is a non-profit organization on the dock in Stonington, ME with a mission of building marine stewardship at a local community level. The Center serves fifty fishing communities from the islands of Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border. Captain Ames fished commercially for 28 years. He was formerly Vice-Chair of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Hatchery Technology Committee, Executive Director of the Maine Gillnetters Association and director of Alden-Ames Lab, an environmental and water quality laboratory. He received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Maine and was an instructor/teacher of chemistry, biochemistry, and environmental science for ten years. He has authored several peer-reviewed articles on historical fisheries ecology, fishermen’s ecological knowledge, and related subjects. Ames is the recipient of a 2005 MacArthur Award, and the 2007 Geddes W. Simpson Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Maine.
Ted has been a member of a multi-year collaborative project with scientists and students from Bowdoin, Bates, the University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine, and with stakeholders throughout Maine’s Kennebec and Androscoggin watersheds. The project is examining the ecological recovery of the Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers, their common estuary and nearshore marine environment. The group is working to identify and model the ecological and socioeconomic constraints hindering more complete ecosystem recovery, and to predict the economic benefits of further recovery under different scenarios of habitat restoration and dam removal. This collaborative endeavor is a Sustainability Solutions Initiative EPSCor project. More information on this project can be found on the website.
Five Bowdoin students completed independent study projects related to the ESPCoR iniative with Ted Ames this year. Sarah Ebel ’10 researched the role of community based fisheries, examining in particular the role of women in community based initiatives. Sarah is the recent recipient of a Watson Fellowship that will enable her to continue her research during 2010-2011, looking at case studies of community based fisheries in New Zealand, Belize, Argentina, and Tanzania.
Andy Bell ’10 and Elsie Thomson ’11 worked with Ted in the fall using his data on historic fish abundances. Ted has mapped 1920’s fishing grounds throughout the Gulf of Maine based on an analysis drawing on interviews he conducted with fishermen. Using this historic fish population data, Bell and Thomson investigated how spatial characteristics such as substrate and depth impact the distribution of different fish species (current fish populations in the Gulf of Maine are a fraction of historical stocks). This work will help identify critical habitat characteristics for different fish species as well as continue to add to understanding of fish movement (and life history). These advances will support future management and recovery plans for the Gulf of Maine. In the spring, Catherine Johnston ’11 and Cory Elowe ’10 completed independent study projects that built upon this earlier work.
Ted guest-lectured throughout the year at Bowdoin in courses ranging from biology, environmental studies, economics, English and mathematics and also met with high school students from Deer Isle in Stonington, ME who were touring the college and meeting with students at Bowdoin. Ted’s role with the high school students was to inspire them to consider attending college, which he could speak to with relevance having grown up on nearby Vinalhaven Island.
In October, Ted gave a presentation to the National Ocean Symposium at Bowdoin, speaking on “Maine Spatial Planning and Commercial Fishing in the Gulf of Maine.” In November Ted was featured in the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust speaker series, and presented a seminar to Bowdoin faculty and staff. He also guest lectured in an Ecology and Policy of Maine’s Rivers class at the University of Southern Maine, and in February, presented at Maine Audubon Society. Ted and John Lichter gave a joint presentation at the Harvard Forest in Petersham MA in late spring.