Dr. Fredrika Moser named Director of Maryland Sea Grant

Marine research leader and policy analyst Dr. Fredrika Moser has been named director of Maryland Sea Grant College following more than a decade of service to the program as its assistant director for research and, since 2011, as its interim director.

Her selection, following a nationwide search, was announced by Donald Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Maryland Sea Grant College is one of the five environmental research centers across the state under his leadership. 

"Dr. Moser stood out because of her deep experience in Sea Grant, her excellent understanding of Maryland’s marine resource issues, and the administrative leadership she has demonstrated as interim director," said Dr. Boesch.

As Maryland Sea Grant’s research leader from 2001 to 2011, Moser helped develop several of the program’s signature efforts to assist policy makers and natural resource officials in making management decisions in the Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic regions. One such multistate project convened scientific workshops to improve understanding and management of aquatic invasive species, including zebra mussels, Chinese mitten crabs, and unwanted “hitchhiker species” spread by the live bait trade.

“I am excited and honored to accept this new position,” said Moser. “I look forward to working with our many partners as we find science-based solutions to keep the Chesapeake Bay region healthy for future generations to enjoy.”

Moser plans to create new partnerships with other organizations working to preserve the Chesapeake Bay. She wants to expand support for “transformative” science – which tackles some of the most challenging interdisciplinary research problems – to help Maryland better face critical challenges. Such issues include climate change adaptation and mitigation, water quality, watershed restoration, sustainable fisheries, and the social and economic constraints that hinder policy and management responses to changing environmental conditions.

In addition, Moser wants to expand Maryland Sea Grant’s collaborations with the state’s universities and schools to enhance marine science education and research opportunities.

Maryland Sea Grant is one of 34 university-based programs in coastal and Great Lakes states that support research, education, and public outreach on marine and coastal issues. These programs, administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), work to promote environmentally sustainable and economically viable uses of natural resources.

Moser will oversee a staff of 25 at Maryland Sea Grant, including 13 members of the University of Maryland Extension service, and an annual budget of about $2.3 million. More than half of that comes from NOAA and the rest from the state of Maryland. 

Before coming to Maryland Sea Grant in 2001, Moser served as a marine science policy analyst at the U.S. Department of State while she was a diplomacy fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Earlier, she was a manager for environmental assessment at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. There she oversaw research programs to inform policy decisions on dioxin contamination, ocean pollution, dredged sediments, and other environmental problems.

She was a consultant to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, focusing on aquatic invasive species and sediment management. The commission advised the President and Congress in 2004 on measures to halt the decline of the nation’s oceans and coasts.

Moser also served, along with scientists and industry representatives, as a board member for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association for Coastal Ocean Observing Systems. There, she worked to strengthen partnerships with various groups to support ocean measurements and the translation of science into information that could help people understand issues such as flooding and boating conditions. 

At Maryland Sea Grant, she has played a key role in the College's education initiatives, leading a summer research program for college undergraduates. The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, which is supported by the National Science Foundation, offers college students the opportunity to work on research projects under the guidance of the university’s marine and coastal researchers. Moser has worked to increase the number of students who come from groups that are underrepresented in the marine science community, including women and members of minority groups. 

Most recently she has worked with the Universidad Metropolitana (UMET) in Puerto Rico to develop a new REU project and undergraduate research program there. Moser has also overseen Maryland Sea Grant's graduate research fellowship programs, which support student researchers and help them to translate their work for audiences outside of academia.

She earned a doctoral degree at the Institute for Coastal and Marine Science at Rutgers University and a master’s degree in geological sciences, also from Rutgers. She also received bachelor’s degrees in earth sciences and environmental studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Moser succeeds Jonathan Kramer, who resigned as director in 2011 to join a new research center at the University of Maryland, the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland.