Year in Review: Having an impact on the world around us

We had a busy year in 2016. Before we welcome a new year of challenges and accomplishment, we want to look back at some of the research and moments that made our year.


Legendary Chesapeake scientist helps us understand

Walter Boynton, longtime professor and a fixture in the world of Chesapeake Bay science for more than 40 years, was been chosen to receive the Mathias Medal to recognize his distinguished career of scholarship and public service. For years, politicians and policy makers have turned to him when they want to understand the issues and get it right. MORE

Helping town leaders make decisions

Our research helps inform town leaders on policy and action to improve water quality of coastal bays. UMCES scientists shared tools to help town planners run scenarios to understand how different types land uses result in changes in nitrogen quantities. The approach can inform local governments as they develop land-use rules and work to comply with future water-quality regulations. MORE

Bringing back oysters

UMCES has long been part of the effort to restore oysters to Chesapeake Bay through its oyster culture facility, but this year saw a new approach that brings industry, managers, and scientists together to discuss the future of this Bay mainstay. MORE

Field and stream 2.0 

Here’s great insight into how we make a difference: in the field and with stakeholders who offer unique points of view. Tom Fisher and his research team have been working directly with farmers and residents on the Eastern Shore to measure the impacts of best management practices like cover crops and steam buffers on water quality. They are looking for the best ways to combat harmful runoff from farms and lawns in the watershed. MORE

It’s in the air

A surprising new study found water quality successes in the Chesapeake Bay restoration may be driven more by air quality regulation rather than by water quality control efforts. Ecologist Keith Eshleman linked improving water quality in streams and rivers of the Upper Potomac River Basin to reductions in nitrogen pollution onto the land and streams due to enforcement of the Clean Air Act, suggesting that improvements in air quality may be responsible for recent progress on water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. MORE

Seagrasses have a hand in their own comeback

UMCES scientists made a remarkable new finding on a unique but troubled part of our local environment‑‑‑seagrasses. It turns out underwater grass beds are capable of something amazing. They can protect and maintain their own health.  MORE

Man-made climate change: "It’s us. We did it.” 

Not only did humans cause global warming, but we did it earlier than once thought. An international research project showed that the increases in temperatures we are witnessing today started about 180 years ago and confirmed previous findings that human activity is the cause of modern global warming. Paleclimatologist Hali Kilbourne found proof in the the chemistry of coral skeletons, which can reveal annual changes in temperature going back hundreds of years. MORE

She has watched the sea ice melt earlier each year

Jacqueline Grebmeier, a leader in studying climate change in the rapidly changing is proof of UMCES' commitment to addressing our planet's most pressing challenges. She was given the President’s Award for Excellence in Application of Science in 2016 in honor of working for more than 30 years to understand how Arctic marine systems are responding to environmental changes. MORE

Signs of a better Chesapeake Bay  

The overall health of Chesapeake Bay improved in 2015, according to the annual report card from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The largest estuary in the nation scored a C in 2015, one of the three highest scores since 1986.

"We know why the Bay became degraded and what we need to do to restore it. This report card shows what's possible when we take action," said UMCES President Donald Boesch. MORE