News from the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

NOAA funds study to explore impact of oil spills on blue crab development

A new study by scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science will help determine the potential impact of an oil spill on the development of the blue crab. NOAA and the Coastal Response Research Center at the University of New Hampshire has awarded a $150,000 grant for a one-year study of the effects of chemical dispersants and dispersed oil on larvae of the commercially important blue crab, a keystone species of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coast, and its larvae.

Dr. Jacqueline Grebmeier awarded IASC Medal

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Recognized for 30-year career working to understand how Arctic marine ecosystems respond to environmental change

Dr. Jacqueline Grebmeier, research professor and a biological oceanographer at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), has been recognized for exceptional and sustained contributions to the understanding of the Arctic by the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), an international scientific organization that supports leading-edge research through coordination by 22 member countries with Arctic research programs.

UMCES Scientists to Study Water Quality Consequences of Susquehanna River Sediments and Nutrients

A team of scientists at University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) is beginning a two-year study to quantify the amount of sediment and associated nutrients present in major entry points to the Lower Susquehanna River Reservoir System and the upper Chesapeake Bay. UMCES scientists are building on a recent assessment led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that analyzed the movement of sediment and associated nutrient loads through the lower Susquehanna River watershed to the upper Chesapeake Bay. Although the entire Lower Reservoir System will be investigated, special emphasis will be given to sediment and nutrient loads into and out of Conowingo Pond during high flow events. This study will help policymakers determine the best management options to reduce this effect.

Bay experts Boesch and Boynton earn rank of Admiral of the Chesapeake Bay

Award recognizes the lifetime achievement and is the highest honor the governor can bestow on a person for their environmental contributions. University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Donald Boesch and Professor Walt Boynton were recognized as an “Admiral of the Chesapeake” by outgoing Governor Martin O’Malley during his final days in office.

Arctic scientists receive marine research award

Biologists Jacqueline Grebmeier and Lee Cooper received an Alaska Ocean Leadership Award from the Alaska SeaLife Center in January. The awards are given annually to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the awareness and sustainability of the state’s marine resources.

New study calls for continuing need to assess impacts of offshore wind farms on marine species

Offshore wind power is a valuable source of renewable energy that can help reduce carbon emissions. Technological advances are allowing higher capacity turbines to be installed in deeper water, but there is still much unknown about the effects on the environment. In a recent paper, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science researcher Helen Bailey and colleagues review the potential impacts of offshore wind developments on marine species and make recommendations for future monitoring and assessment as interest in offshore wind energy grows around the world.

New Environmental Statistics Collaborative to offer state-of-the-art research and consulting services

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) announces the establishment of the Environmental Statistics Collaborative (ESC), a new initiative that will offer state-of-the-art education in environmental statistics to UMCES graduate students, provide research expertise to faculty researchers, and offer consulting services to partners in the scientific and natural resource management community. The Institute will open in August 2014 for consulting and research services and will teach its first course for students in January 2015.

New study maps human impacts on top ocean predators along U.S. west coast

Scientists have been tracking the movements of whales, seals, seabirds and turtles along the west coast to identify hot spots that could be better managed to protect marine life from human impacts. A new study reveals areas where human impacts are highest on marine predators. and that many of the high impact areas for the ocean’s top predators are already within the boundaries of five National Marine Sanctuaries along the west coast, covering nearly 15,000 square miles. This means there are good opportunities for improving management strategies.

Assessing impact of noise from offshore wind farm construction may help protect marine mammals

Growth in offshore wind generation is expected to play a major role in meeting carbon reduction targets around the world, but the impact of construction noise on marine species is yet unknown. A group of scientists from the United Kingdom and the United States have developed a method to assess the potential impacts of offshore wind farm construction on marine mammal populations, particularly the noise made while driving piles into the seabed to install wind turbine foundations. Their work is published in the November issue of Environmental Impact Assessment Review.