News from UMCES

New director takes reins of Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg

Dr. Eric Davidson joins the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Appalachian Laboratory as its new director in the new year. An ecologist, soil scientist, and biogeochemist, Davidson was formerly Executive Director of the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, where he had worked as a scientist since 1991. 

Entrepreneurs Fellowship Program helps young scientists

Environmental entrepreneurs complete first semester of program that brings students and business leaders together at Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology

Graduate students at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor recently completed the first semester of an entrepreneurial boot camp focusing on basic business principles, venture capital and entrepreneurism. The Ratcliffe Environmental Entrepreneurs Fellowship Program was established in June 2014 with funding from the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation to help young scientists cultivate the leadership and business skills necessary to bring their bench research into commercial markets.

Nutrients that Feed Red Tide in Gulf of Mexico “Under the Microscope” in Major Study

The “food” sources that support Florida red tides are more diverse and complex than previously realized, according to five years’ worth of research on red tide and nutrients published recently as an entire special edition of the scientific journal Harmful Algae. Study partners documented 12 sources of nutrients in southwest Florida waters—including some never before associated with K. brevis. Results supported the consensus that blooms start 10-40 miles offshore, away from the direct influence of land-based nutrient pollution, but once moved inshore blooms can use both human-contributed and natural nutrients for growth.

Oyster restoration team gets national attention

The oyster culture facility at Horn Point Laboratory has been gaining national attention for its work to grow oyster for Chesapeake Bay restoration. Kudos to Hatchery Manager Mutt Meritt and his team, who were featured on Mike Rowe's Somebody's Gotta Do It on CNN, as well as a National Geographic feature on oyster gardening and a hope for a cleaner Bay. 

UMCES helps bring science into New York classrooms

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is helping to bring science in the classroom in New York City as part of the Billion Oyster Project(BOP) in New York Harbor, a National Science Foundation project aimed at delivering environmental restoration education to New York City public schools. The Integration and Application Network will develop a state-of- the-art digital platform that will provide a portal for students and teachers to access and analyze real-time water quality data and view the growth of oyster gardens via underwater cameras.

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 approach can predict impact of climate change on species that can’t get out of the way

When scientists talk about the consequences of climate change, it can mean more than how we human beings will be impacted by higher temperatures, rising seas and serious storms. Plants and trees are also feeling the change, but they can’t move out of the way. Researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and University of Vermont have developed a new tool to overcome a major challenge of predicting how organisms may respond to climate change.

Governor O'Malley honored with Truitt Environmental Award

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science presented Governor Martin O’Malley with the Reginald V. Truitt Environmental Award for his environmental leadership in Maryland. He received the award Tuesday evening at a special ceremony with invited guests at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

Underwater grass comeback bodes well for Chesapeake

The Susquehanna Flats, a large bed of underwater grasses near the mouth of the Susquehanna River, virtually disappeared from the upper Chesapeake Bay after Tropical Storm Agnes more than 40 years ago. However, the grasses mysteriously began to come back in the early 2000s. Today, the bed is one of the biggest and healthiest in the Bay, spanning some 20 square miles. A new study by scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Horn Point Laboratory explores what’s behind this major comeback. 

Citizen scientist project recognized for tracking leaf changes on poplar trees

An Appalachian Laboratory project that engages citizen scientists to record observations of trees has been recognized by the White House for their efforts in collaborating with the public on climate change research. Volunteers are tracking when the leaves come out on the trees in the spring and when they begin to turn colors in the fall to help understand how climate change is affecting two poplar tree species.

Travel the Chesapeake Bay with science at the Horn Point Laboratory Open House October 11

The Horn Point Laboratory invites the public to take part in its annual free Open House from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 11, 2014. Located on the banks of the Choptank River on Maryland's Eastern Shore, the laboratory is renowned for its study of marine ecosystems. The theme for this year’s event is “Travel the Bay with Science.” It features exhibits by the laboratory’s scientists of their investigations in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal areas along the Atlantic Coast.

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.

With 'biological sunscreen,' mantis shrimp see the reef in a whole different light

In an unexpected discovery, researchers at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science have found that the complex eyes of mantis shrimp are equipped with optics that generate ultraviolet (UV) color vision. Mantis shrimp's six UV photoreceptors pick up on different colors within the UV spectrum based on filters made from an ingredient other animals depend on as built-in biological sunscreen, according to research reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on July 3.

Ratcliffe Foundation grant supports business leadership program for students at Institute of Marine & Environmental Technology

The Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation has awarded the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) a three-year, $600,000 grant to initiate the Ratcliffe Environmental Entrepreneurs Fellowship Program. This new effort has been formed to help young scientists cultivate the leadership and business skills necessary to bring their bench research into commercial markets. 

NOAA, partners predict slightly above average ‘dead zone’ in Chesapeake Bay

Also anticipate average hypoxia for Gulf of Mexico

Scientists are expecting a slightly above average “dead zone” in the Chesapeake Bay this year, and an average, but still large, size hypoxic area in the Gulf of Mexico. The forecast for the Chesapeake Bay predicts a slightly larger than average dead zone in the nation's largest estuary.

Chesapeake Bay health holds steady in 2013

Stormwater runoff proves to be important factor in Bay health

Despite a year of above average rainfall and record heat, the overall health of Chesapeake Bay held steady in 2013, according to scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Overall, the Chesapeake scored a C, nearly the same score as the previous year, which was up from a D+ and C- in previous years.

John D. Porcari joins University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Board of Visitors

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Maryland’s premier research institution aimed at advancing scientific knowledge of the environment, has appointed former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari to its Board of Visitors. He is currently Senior Vice President and National Director of Strategic Consulting at Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Dr. Jeffrey Cornwell honored with UMCES President's Award

Dr. Jeffrey Cornwell, a professor at the Horn Point Laboratory and an expert in sediments, water quality, and wetlands, has been honored by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science with the President's Award for Excellence in Application of Science. Cornwell was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the understanding of nutrient cycling in the Chesapeake Bay, including his leadership in advising the Maryland Port Authority on the impacts of dredging, the role of oysters in removing nutrients from the water column, and the impact of sedimentation at Conowingo Dam.

UMD and UMCES to award joint degree in marine and environmental science

For the first time, the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), a preeminent research institution, will award graduate degrees in marine and environmental sciences jointly with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), one of a few academic institutions in the country with a singular focus on environmental science.

Appalachian Laboratory honors wildlife biologist Tom Mathews

In honor of outstanding contributions to environmental management in Western Maryland, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Appalachian Laboratory has selected wildlife biologist and avid outdoorsman Tom Mathews as recipient of its 2014 Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award. Boasting 28-year career with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Mathews has been a longtime champion of the natural world and continues to be an environmental steward.