September 20

Winter athletes celebrated at banquet

first_img Latest posts by Liz Graves (see all) Bio MDI Hospital to begin contact tracing – August 5, 2020 Keene appeals his 2019 murder conviction – July 30, 2020 Luchini named to Maine Running Hall of Fame – August 12, 2020center_img Liz GravesReporter at Mount Desert IslanderFormer Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor. BAR HARBOR — “I think I have the best job in the world,” said Mount Desert Island High School student activities director Bunky Dow March 10 at the winter sports athletic banquet.Leaders of the Athletic Boosters thanked team parents and concession volunteers, calling them essential to the smooth functioning of the athletic program.The winter cheering squad this year included Malorie Young, Jessica Fox, Genevieve Goebel, Ashley McEachern, Claire Elk, Robin Nicholson, Ali Goodwin, Hannah Carroll, Mackenzie Myers, McKenzie Young, Karli Dyer, and alternate Haleigh Smith. They were coached by Katie Leighton and Taylor Fernald.The varsity boys’ basketball team had a Player of the Year, an All-Academic, a Coach of the Year, and many other awards.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textIn indoor track, Madeline Cook, Caroline Driscoll, and Emma Strong were recognized for state-qualifying performances in their events. On the boys’ side, Chapin McFarland, Brandon Murphy, Matt Hanna, Ralph Magnani, and Will Richards were state champions in their events.The varsity girls’ basketball team received their Eastern Maine Champion banner, and individual awards.In swimming, the boys’ team were PVC runners up. Tom Gallup and Will Greene were state champions in their events. The girls’ swim team received their Eastern Maine and state champion banners. Leila Johnston, Lydia Dacorte, Avalon Kerley, and Sydney Wright were state champions in individual and relay events.A mandatory informational meeting for spring sports is set for Thursday, March 20 at 6 p.m.Find in-depth coverage of local news in the Mount Desert Islander. Subscribe digitally or in print. Latest Postslast_img read more

September 16

Women’s hockey: No. 1 Badgers capture National Championship after superb Frozen Four performance

first_imgThe No. 1 ranked Wisconsin Badgers (35-4-2) took home their fifth-ever NCAA National Championship over the weekend after defeating the No. 2 Minnesota Golden Gophers 2–0 Sunday at the Frozen Four in Hamden, Connecticut. It was a dominant weekend performance from Wisconsin against both No. 4 Clarkson and No. 2 Minnesota, as the team did not allow a goal all weekend.The Badgers had not won a National Championship since 2011, despite having made it to the Frozen Four every year except the 2012-13 season.In Saturday’s victory over Clarkson (30-8-2), the Badgers faced a tougher test than the 5–0 scoreline would suggest. The game remained scoreless throughout the first period as both goalkeepers were able to keep a clean sheet. But Wisconsin managed to rattle off eight more shots on target than the Golden Knights.The scoring drought was finally broken by junior forward Abby Roque nearly ten minutes into the second period. Even after this opening goal, both teams remained neck-and-neck. But Wisconsin created some separation when senior forward Sam Cogan scored the second goal for the Badgers at around the 11-minute mark in the third period.Following Cogan’s goal, the floodgates opened for the Badgers, as they scored a flurry of goals that blew the game wide open.During the last nine minutes of competition, senior captain Annie Pankowski managed to score both a full-strength goal and an empty net goal, the latter of which was followed up by a goal from junior forward Presley Norby.Women’s hockey: Why the women’s hockey team deserves more cloutThe University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team is undoubtedly one of the most successful athletic programs on campus. With four Read…Despite some early struggles against Clarkson, the Badgers brought momentum into Sunday’s championship, which would serve as yet another edition of the border battle against the Minnesota Golden Gophers (32-6-1).The Badgers opened up scoring against the Gophers as senior forward Sophia Shaver snuck one past Minnesota goalie Alex Gulstene.While they managed to get out to an early lead in the first period thanks to this goal, the Badgers still faced stiff offensive opposition from Minnesota, who managed to fire an equal number of shots on goal in the first period.Deadlocked for the next 20 minutes of game time, neither team managed to gain the upper hand. Then, Pankowski put the team on her back — as she has done all season long — with a second-period goal to give the Badgers a 2–0 lead that they would hold on to until the final buzzer.Few players in program history have performed at such a high level for as long as Pankowski, and there is not a more fitting way to end her historic career than by scoring her team’s final goal en route to its first national title in nearly a decade.While Pankowski has drawn much of the attention following the victory, junior goalie Kristen Campbell’s achievements in the Frozen Four are first class.Over the last two games of the season, Campbell managed to keep a clean sheet while facing off against possibly the Badgers’ two toughest opponents of the season. Despite facing a total of 41 shots on goal throughout the Frozen Four, Campbell did not allow a single goal.The Badgers were always able to produce offensively throughout the season, but it is arguably the clutch performance from Campbell that allowed them to seal the deal and bring the Championship trophy to Madison — where it belongs.last_img read more

December 22

Car with no road tax evaded Gardaí for eight years

first_imgGardaí in Convoy have seized a car which has out-of-date tax for the past eight years. The Donegal Roads Policing Unit stopped this people carrier this week, which was last taxed in 2010.Road tax is a legal requirement of all motorists who drive their vehicles in a public place. Not only are you obliged by law to pay motor tax to drive your vehicle, you are also required to display evidence that you have paid (that is, a current tax disc) on the windscreen of your vehicle. Failure to display a current tax disc on your vehicle is considered a motoring offence and will result in a fine.In this case, the car was seized, and Gardai have shared details of the case on Twitter today.Donegal Roads Policing Unit seize car in Convoy, and tax has been out since 2010 pic.twitter.com/TjTDlCeiZf— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) June 12, 2018   Car with no road tax evaded Gardaí for eight years was last modified: June 12th, 2018 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

July 20

Invading ant threatens unique African ecosystem

first_imgCall it Game of Thorns. A prickly tree that grows in the clay-rich soils of East Africa recruits stinging ants to defend itself from gnawing giraffes and marauding bull elephants. In return, the trees provide nectar and shelter—swollen thorns—for the insects. The rewards are so attractive that, in a drama reminiscent of a medieval fantasy TV show, four native ant species battle each other to inhabit the trees. But according to a new study, this warring kingdom is under siege by an even more violent outsider. The consequences could affect elephants, other large wildlife, and perhaps the future of iconic reserves such as Serengeti National Park.The tree in question is called the whistling thorn acacia (Acacia drepanolobium). These trees have evolved a mutualistic relationship with native ants. When herbivores try to strip away its leaves or moody elephants attempt to rip off branches, the ants rush out of their arboreal homes to bite and sting the threatening animal. Elephants have such an aversion to the ants that they will avoid eating the acacia, which helps prevent the woody savanna from becoming a grassland.The ecology of this system is fascinating. The four species of native ants compete ferociously with each other to occupy each tree. Three species, in the genus Crematogaster, feast on nectar that the tree produces for them in specialized organs called nectaries. Jacked up on sugar, they will rush to fight any foreign ant, curling around it and clenching the abdomen in a death grip with their bodies. 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Country Todd Palmer The fourth native species, Tetraponera penzigi, however, has a passive-aggressive strategy for monopolizing the trees it inhabits. With no taste for nectar, T. penzigi destroys the nectaries, reducing the appeal of the tree to other species. (T. penzigi harvests fungal spores and pollen and farms fungus.) And unlike Crematogaster, when T. penzigi are attacked, they retreat into the swollen thorns and defend them with stingers.Regardless of how they fight each other, all the species will defend the tree from elephants and other herbivores. And thus it has been for millennia. But about 4 years ago, researchers in central Kenya became aware of the arrival of the bigheaded ant (Pheidole megacephala). No one knows where the bigheaded ant originally came from, perhaps southern Africa or Madagascar. But it’s clear that it is a persistent and highly successful invader. Living in supercolonies that cooperate, they have devastated all manner of insects on several continents. “Anything they can attack, they will destroy,” says Todd Palmer, an ecologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville.To understand the threat to the native ants, Palmer and colleagues wanted to witness an attack on acacia trees. They cut down 16 small trees, each inhabited by a single species of native ant, from a part of the savanna not yet invaded. Then they trucked the trees—ants and all—to the Mpala Research Center in central Kenya, which has a high density of bigheaded ants.Soon, columns of bigheaded ants streamed into the trees. Crematogaster ants sent an alarm, calling other ants out of the swollen thorns. Although Crematogaster ants are five times larger than bigheaded ants, they were overwhelmed within an hour or two. Swarms of attackers grabbed Crematogaster ants by the legs, pulling them spread-eagle and cutting them up. As the Crematogaster troops fell, the invasion front moved up the trees. “The bigheaded ants just keep coming,” Palmer says. “They are unstoppable.” When bigheaded ants reached the Crematogaster nests inside the swollen thorns, they pulled out the brood and brought them back to their own nests. There, they fed them to their larvae.T. penzigi fared better. They hastily retreated into the swollen thorns, staying inside for up to a month. If caught outside, they flattened themselves and froze. Attacking ants seemed to not recognize them as ants, Palmer says, perhaps because of a chemical camouflage. “It’s the most timid ant that can withstand the battle,” he says. They may even profit: It seems that the extirpation of the three species of Crematogaster opens up other trees that T. penzigi can sneak into; Palmer and colleagues found a much higher density of T. penzigi where the bigheaded ants had invaded, they report in an article posted online in Ecology.  The same behaviors were seen in laboratory experiments with the various species. “The study itself proved far more interesting than I dared expect, with our staged ant battles reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings battle scenes,” says first author Corinna Riginos, a research ecologist at the Teton Research Institute of Teton Science Schools, Jackson, Wyoming, who designed the study. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Two species of Crematogaster fight each other for possession of an acacia tree. Rob Pringle The swollen thorns house ants that help protect acacia trees from elephants. The invasion could have consequences beyond the fate of the native ants. Crematogaster do the best job defending acacia trees. T. penzigi is less effective, and the bigheaded ants won’t fight anything much bigger than a human thumb. Without native ants to guard them, Riginos and Palmer wondered, would acacia trees suffer more harm from elephants?They examined three sites invaded by the bigheaded ants and found five times as many acacia trees with moderate or worse damage from elephants, relative to uninvaded sites. The mutualistic relationship between the ants and the acacia, by mediating elephant damage, is a key influence on the amount of tree cover in the savanna. So the breakdown of the relationship is a significant threat to a landscape that includes Serengeti, Maasai Mara, and Nairobi national parks, Palmer says. “It is a substantial effect they are seeing,” says Han Olff, an ecosystem ecologist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands who was not involved in the research.The influence of the bigheaded ant is unlikely to be apocalyptic or vast, though. Johan du Toit, an ecologist at Utah State University in Logan—who was not involved in the paper—says that the consequence of losing these native ant species will likely be limited to the area where this acacia species is dominant and elephant are abundant, particularly Kenya and Tanzania. “Even for this acacia, losing the ants doesn’t mean it will be completely eaten up by elephants,” he says. “It’s a pretty resilient tree.” Olff adds that it can be difficult to predict exactly how the ecosystem will respond to the perturbation.The next step, Palmer says, is to look at how this invasion affects landscapes where various kinds of wildlife are present or absent. It’s possible that when elephants are not around, the trees may actually benefit from an invasion by the bigheaded ant, because they wouldn’t need to produce nectar for native species and could use the energy to grow instead.The key message is the need to improve biosecurity to prevent such invasions, says Lori Lach, a community ecologist at James Cook University, Cairns, in Australia. “We can’t be complacent about invasive ant spread, even of species that have mostly fallen off the radar of active management around the world,” she says. “Our best chance at preventing detrimental effects by invasive ants is by increasing investment in biosecurity and by detecting and destroying them at borders.”*Update, 8 September, 3:05 p.m.: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Corinna Riginos played the primary role in the research.last_img read more