Climate change directory created to connect public with experts, information – Spaulding

Ever wonder if there’s a journalism course at the University of Maine that incorporates climate science reporting?

Who would be an informative speaker to talk about long-term watershed management, or changes in the lobster industry related to climate impacts, or reducing climate-related effects with community infrastructure improvements?

Answers to these questions and many more can be found by perusing the initial launch of the University of Maine Climate Change Capacity Discovery Directory.

Nicole Spaulding, an assistant research professor in the Climate Change Institute and an ice core paleoclimatologist, says the online directory resulted from a 2016 survey sent to more than 1,500 full- and part-time UMaine faculty and salaried employees.

The goal of this “directory of expertise” is to define the knowledge and resources at UMaine on the broad topic of climate change, as well as to strengthen campus awareness, communication and coordination.

A search of courses listed in the directory reveals that student journalists interested in climate change reporting could take CMJ 404 Communicating Risk (climate change is one of the nine case studies discussed), as well as CMJ 498 Science and the News Media. There’s also ENG 418 Science Writing.

For people wanting to learn about long-term watershed management solutions, there’s Sean Smith, an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences. He develops solutions to problems identified by stakeholders — including climate change adaptation, watershed restoration and aquatic habitat rehabilitation.

And for those interested in speaking with an expert about changes in the lobster industry related to climate impacts or reducing climate-related effects with community infrastructure improvements, there’s Esperanza Stancioff, an educator with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant.

The 152 faculty and staff who responded to the survey and are involved with an aspect of climate change are listed alphabetically in the directory — from Stephen Abbadessa to Gregory Zaro. Each respondent’s contact information is listed as well as a description of his or her outreach, research, work focus and/or course(s) with a climate change component.

As of mid-April, survey respondents listed 147 courses that include a climate change component — from AED 270 Introduction to Visual Culture and Learning to WLE 340 Freshwater Fisheries Ecology and Management.

Spaulding says the CCI launched the Climate Change Capacity Discovery Survey to create synergies on campus and to help people in Maine and around the world to connect with experts and information.

In 2014, Climate Change was identified as one of the University of Maine’s Signature Areas of Excellence. The designation was due to the world-class work of researchers at the Climate Change Institute and the broad array of expertise across many university academic, research, and outreach units that contribute to this arena of science — including the physics of climate science and impacts of climate change on food systems, forestry, tourism, fisheries and human health.

Spaulding encourages campus faculty and staff to contact her at to become part of the directory and she welcomes updates from those already listed.