News from UMCES

Appalachian Laboratory hosts Open House - Saturday, May 3

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Join the team to help restore the American Chestnut tree, learn about critters found in Maryland’s forests, and talk to experts about brook trout and fracking at a free Open House at the University

IMET wins $500,000 in global innovative carbon use competition

Algae from the Chesapeake Bay could be key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Institute of Marine and EnvironmentalTechnology (IMET) has been named a winner in the first round of the Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC)’s $35 million international Grand Challenge: Innovative Carbon Uses for its work in using algae to capture carbon dioxide.

Appalachian Laboratory scientists receive highest university award

The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents has selected two faculty members from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science—Dr. Keith Eshleman and Dr. Andrew Elmore­—to receive the 2014 USM Regents’ Faculty Award, the highest honor that the Board bestows to recognize exemplary faculty achievement. This is the first time that two of the Center’s faculty members have been honored in the same year.

Seagrass expert Evamaria Koch remembered

Dr. Evamaria Wysk Koch, of Easton, passed away on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 9 PM at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore from complications of lung cancer.  Like many other lung cancer victims, she had never smoked and she maintained a healthy lifestyle.  By the time the cancer was detected in July of 2013, it had progressed too far for surgery and chemotherapy ultimately failed.

Science shows restoration efforts can improve local water quality in the Chesapeake Bay

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Case studies show best management practices have lowered pollution

Pollution-reducing practices can improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams, according to new research. A number of case studies show that “best management practices”—including upgrading wastewater treatment plants, lowering vehicle and power plant emissions, and reducing runoff from farmland—have lowered nutrients and sediment in local waterways. 

Scientists discover key hormone that makes it possible for female crabs to mate and care for their young

Those two crooked beady eyes peeking out of the shell do more than just help blue crabs spot food in the murky waters of the Chesapeake Bay. They also produce important hormones responsible for the growth and development of a crab from an adolescent into a full-fledged adult. Scientists at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Maryland recently discovered a new hormone in those eyestalks responsible for forming body parts that make it possible for female crabs to mate and raise young.

Lessons learned restoring the Chesapeake will help leaders clean up Rio's Guanabara Bay

Knowledge gained by Maryland scientists who have studied the Chesapeake Bay for decades will soon be shared with leaders in Brazil to help clean up of Rio's Guanabara Bay.

Multiple mates worth the risk for female prairie dogs

Mating with more than one male increases reproductive success for female prairie dogs, despite a greater risk of predation and increased exposure to diseases and parasites. So why would a female prairie dog take the risk? The answer is simple: female prairie dogs that mate with two or more males rear more offspring than those that mate with only one.

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.

IMET hosts LMRCSC Board of Visitors

The Board of Visitors of the Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC) met at the Institute of Marine & Environmental Technology on November 4, 2013, for their annual meeting. LMRCSC faculty and graduate students met with the project directors, as well as Jacqueline Rousseau and Meka Laster from NOAA's Educational Partnership Program. The program is funded by NOAA's Educational Partnership Program.

Clean Air Act has led to improved water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed

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Declines in atmospheric nitrogen pollution improved water quality over a 23-year period

A new study shows that the reduction of pollution emissions from power plants in the mid-Atlantic is making an impact on the quality of the water that ends up in the Chesapeake Bay. The study by scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science confirms that as the amount of emissions of nitrogen oxide from coal-fired power plants declined in response to the Clean Air Act, the amount of nitrogen pollution found in the waterways of forested areas in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia fell as well.

Donald Boesch joins ocean leaders to influence ocean and coast management

Dr. Donald Boesch is one of five new members to join the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative’s distinguished Leadership Council, an influential group of ocean leaders tasked with changing the way we manage the nation’s oceans and coasts. The Joint Initiative was created in 2005 as a collaborative effort between the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission. Since its formation, it has sustained a broad-based, bipartisan effort to influence meaningful ocean policy reform and action at the national, regional, and state levels. 

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.

Record 1.2 billion oysters added to Bay restoration effort in 2013

This has been a record year for oysters and the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort. The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's oyster culture facility at Horn Point and its partners the Oyster Recovery Partnership, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and others have produced more than 1.2 billion oysters during the 2013 production season. This is the first time any oyster hatchery nationwide has produced more than one billion Eastern oyster spat in a single season. 

Accurate maps of streams could aid in more sustainable development of Potomac River watershed

Where a stream ends is clear, but where it begins can be more difficult to discern. Researchers from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science have developed a new method to solve this problem, resulting in a new map of the Potomac River watershed stream network that significantly improves the information needed for assessing the impact of urbanization on aquatic ecosystems.

Discover the science of the Chesapeake at Horn Point Open House - October 12

The Horn Point Laboratory invites the public to take part in its annual Community Open House from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 12, 2013. 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 “Science – Charting a Course for the Bay.” It features exhibits by the laboratory’s scientists of their investigations in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal areas along the Atlantic and around the world.

Jean-Michel Cousteau presents The Great Ocean Adventure

The Institute of Marine & Environmental Technology (IMET) and the University System of Maryland present an evening with legendary ocean environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau on Wednesday, October 9, from 7-8:30 p.m. His multimedia lecture, “The Great Ocean Adventure,” will address the magnitude of challenges facing our oceans and fisheries and touch upon IMET’s work in developing one of the most innovative and environmentally sustainable marine aquaculture technologies today.

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.

Looking to the past to predict future climate change

Climate changes how species interact with one another--and not just today or in the future, but also in the past. Scientists are studying trends from fossil records to understand how climate change impacted the world in the ancient past and to identify ways to predict how things may change in the future, according to a new study by University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science researcher Matt Fitzpatrick and colleagues published in the August 2 issue of Science.

Scientists discover key to easing aquaculture’s reliance on wild-caught fish

For the first time scientists have been able to develop a completely vegetarian diet that works for marine fish raised in aquaculture, the key to making aquaculture a sustainable industry as the world’s need for protein increases. The findings led by Aaron Watson and Allen Place at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology, are published in the August issue of the journal Lipids

"Aquaculture cannot sustainably grow and expand to meet growing global population and protein demand without developing and evaluating alternative ingredients to reduce fishmeal and fish oil use," said the study's lead author, Dr. Aaron Watson.