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.

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.

Fisheries building rededicated in honor of Eugene Cronin, "Admiral of the Chesapeake"

The Chesapeake Biological Laboratory rededicates the Fisheries Research Complex in honor of Eugene Cronin, the lab’s second director and passionate advocate for health of the Chesapeake Bay, on August 20. The complex, in which ecological and toxicology research is conducted, will officially be renamed the L. Eugene Cronin Laboratory.

Limiting fishing and improving habitat would allow oyster population to rebound

A new study shows that combining improved oyster restoration methods with limits on fishing in the upper Chesapeake could bring the oyster population back to the Bay in a much shorter period of time. The study led by Michael Wilberg of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory assessed a range of management and restoration options to see which ones would have the most likelihood success.

RESEARCH CRUISE: Coral reveals climate in the Middle Ages

Hali thanks the National Science Foundation for funding and with their continued support we hope to be back for more next year!

Some time between 1200 and 1450--when the Black Plague was ravaging Europe, Geoffrey Chaucer was writing his Canterbury Tales, and Marco Polo was traveling the world--a giant tsunami washed part of a reef onto the beach in what is now the British Virgin Islands.

Those corals are still there, and hold the key to what was going on with the climate during a key period between one of the warmest known eras on our planet and the coldest phase since the last Ice Age.  

Paleoclimatologist Hali Kilbourne and geochemist Johan Schijf of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory are there right now to sample the corals on the beach to reconstruct the climate of the region at that time. 

Follow their 2013 research cruise in Anegada here:

Biologists lead international team to track Arctic response to climate change

Biologists Jackie Grebmeier and Lee Cooper from the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory have been visiting the chilly area north of Alaska near the Bering Strait for more than 20 years, but it's only in the last few years that they have seen things really start to change. And fast. Last summer was the highest ice retreat in the Arctic record, and eight of the last ten years have seen the lowest ice on record.

Atlantic menhaden study will help identify balance between fishing and preserving

Millions of tiny Atlantic menhaden swim in the Chesapeake Bay and are the favorite menu item of prized rockfish. They are also the heart of a major fish oil industry on the East Coast. However, their numbers have been declining.

Thanks to a grant from the Lenfest Ocean Program, renowned fisheries scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science will investigate the balance between fishing for menhaden and the value of the fish in the ecosystem. The goal is to help develop fishing management guidelines to ensure that this tiny but mighty species, whose population is currently at its lowest point in more than 50 years, survives and thrives along with the other Bay creatures that depend on them.

Professor Ed Houde named Vice President for Education

Professor Ed Houde, respected fisheries scientist at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, has been named Vice President for Education. In this critical new position at the University ofMaryland Center for Environmental Science, he will lead the accreditation process for joint graduate degrees and certificates, work with administrators at collaborating universities regarding joint degree programs, and develop an effective organization for the management of faculty and student participation in graduate education.

Ballast water treatment system testing facility earns U.S. Coast Guard approval

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Maritime Environmental Resource Center (MERC) has partnered with NSF International, Great Ships Initiative and Retlif Testing Laboratories to become the first U.S. Coast Guard-approved Independent Laboratory for evaluation and testing of technologies designed for treatment of ballast water on ships.