UMPI Professor Reflects on Fulbright Award
University of Maine at Presque Isle Professor Kevin McCartney is an official Fulbright alumnus after spending nearly nine months in Szczecin, Poland as the very first Fulbright Scholar from northern Maine.
During his Fulbright, McCartney undertook two large and several smaller studies connected to his research in the field of micropaleontology, delivered presentations in several Polish cities, taught a geology course, assisted student and faculty colleagues in writing English-language papers and grant proposals, and even named a new species in honor of his benefactor William Fulbright.
One of the many accomplishments of McCartney’s work in Poland was the description, in a paper soon to be submitted, of two new genera and two new species of silicoflagellates. One of the new species will be named Stephanocha fulbrightii, after the famous senator, as McCartney’s way of acknowledging support of his research. McCartney has previously named a genus after the University of Maine at Presque Isle and four species after students who worked with him at the University; a Russian colleague also has recently named a new species after McCartney: Nitzschia mccartneyi.
Professor McCartney has a second large study in progress dedicated to the evolution of the silicoflagellate genus Naviculopsis, which has a long geologic history from about 58 to 18 million years ago. These silicoflagellates have fairly simple elongated skeletons, with the design occasionally occurring in other genus. McCartney is working with two students, one an undergraduate, on papers that clarify portions of this interesting evolutionary history. He is also working with a Chinese colleague on a paper about Ice Age fossils recently recovered from the Challenger Deep, which, located in the Pacific Ocean, is the deepest ocean bottom anywhere.
Photos of many sights can be seen in the daily photo-blog McCartney maintained during his time in Poland. They can be viewed at http://wp.umpi.edu/kevinsfulbright.
McCartney will return to Poland for two weeks in August. He is an invited speaker at the International Phycological Congress, an event for the scientists who study modern algae. Also planned is a talk on astronomy informal education in northern Maine before a group that is working to establish a planetarium and Planet Head Day in Szczecin.
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