News from UMCES

New forecast tool helps ships avoid blue whale hotspots

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Satellite tracking informs maps of blue whale density off West Coast

Scientists have long used satellite tags to track blue whales along the West Coast, learning how the largest animals on the planet find enough small krill to feed on to support their enormous size. Now researchers from NOAA Fisheries, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and Oregon State University have combined that trove of tracking data with satellite observations of ocean conditions to develop the first system for predicting locations of blue whales off the West Coast.

Science in the First Person: Jamie Pierson

OysterFutures project brings industry, managers together to discuss future

Scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science are part of a unique project designed to strategize new ways to manage an old industry. With the fate of the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster population in question, stakeholders ranging from watermen to environmentalists hope to look past any differences to reach a common goal—enhance the shellfish resource and fishery.

Global warming is causing our oceans to suffocate

Do you know why bubbles form in a pot of boiling water? It’s the oxygen leaving the liquid. The same thing is happening as a changing climate warms up our oceans. It’s called deoxygenation, or ocean suffocation. When the water warms up, it holds less oxygen for living creatures to use. At the same time, animals’ need for oxygen increases as the temperature rises. A double whammy.

Wind energy development has broad consequences for Golden Eagles

Roughly over a quarter of the golden eagles killed at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in Northern California from 2012-2014 were recent immigrants to the local population, according to research led by the U.S. Geological Survey. The results illustrate how golden eagle populations are interconnected across the western U.S. and suggest that golden eagle deaths, or mitigation for those deaths, at one location may impact populations in other areas. 

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Dr. Donald Boesch announces stepping down after 27 years

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UMCES’ leader will leave legacy in science and Chesapeake Bay restoration

President Donald Boesch has announced his intent to conclude his leadership role at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) on August 31, 2017. Appointed UMCES’ fifth chief executive in 1990, Dr. Boesch has led an institution with an excellent reputation for Chesapeake Bay science to global prominence in coastal watershed science and its application, building highly capable research facilities at each of the Center’s four laboratories, and attaining accreditation for UMCES’ program in graduate education in the marine and environmental sciences.

New research facility honors legendary Maryland environmental scientist Reginald Truitt

In 1918, not long after the Wright brothers’ first flight, a scientist named Reginald Truitt was the first person to fly over Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay and discover from above that the magnificent estuary was all truly connected. It inspired him to borrow a microscope and set up a modest laboratory to study the oysters, crabs and fish that were so plentiful in the Bay. In 1925, it would become the first publically supported marine laboratory on the East Coast. 

Mitch Neitzey of EFO Capital Management, Inc. joins Board of Visitors

CAMBRIDGE, MD (September 8, 2016)—The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, a leading research and educational institute dedicated to understanding and managing our natural resources, recently appointed J. Mitchell Neitzey, President, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of EFO Capital Management, Inc., to its Board of Visitors. 

Mobile laboratory helps keep invasive species out of Chesapeake Bay

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Test platform anchored in Sharptown, Eastern Shore in September

If you’ve driven across the bridge across the Nanticoke River on the Eastern Shore at Sharptown, you might’ve noticed a strange looking vessel moored to shore. One hundred and fifty feet long and fifty feet wide, it’s a one-of-a-kind barge outfitted with two, large white holding tanks and a tangle of red and blue pipes. It is actually a floating laboratory with a staff of about a dozen scientists responsible testing technologies that treat ballast water on ships to reduce the risks associated with the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Study finds human-caused global warming began earlier than expected

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Analysis of paleoclimate records shows a rapid response of climate to fossil fuel burning

Close to 200 years ago, the Industrial Revolution drove thousands away from working the land to toil in factories in cities, where machine production changed our entire way of life. A new study shows that this major societal shift also triggered simultaneous changes in our climate. An international research project has shown that the increases in temperatures we are witnessing today started about 180 years ago and confirms previous findings that human activity is the cause of modern global warming. 

Legendary Chesapeake Bay scientist Walt Boynton to receive Mathias Medal

Walter Boynton, longtime professor and estuarine ecologist at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory and a fixture in the world of Chesapeake Bay science for more than 40 years, has been chosen to receive the Mathias Medal to recognize his distinguished career of scholarship and public service.

Joe Suarez of Booz Allen Hamilton joins Board of Visitors

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, a leading research and educational institute dedicated to understanding and managing our natural resources, recently appointed Joe Suarez, Executive Advisor with Community Partnerships for Booz Allen Hamilton, to its Board of Visitors.

Peggy Derrick of EA Engineering, Science, and Technology appointed to UMCES Board of Visitors

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Maryland’s leading research institution aimed at advancing scientific knowledge of the environment, recently welcomed Peggy Derrick, Vice President at EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc., PBC, to its Board of Visitors. 

Cleaner air may be driving improvements in Chesapeake Bay water quality

A new study suggests that improvements in air quality over the Potomac watershed, including the Washington, D.C., metro area, may be responsible for recent progress on water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. Scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science have 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. 

Scientists partner with farmers and landowners to help reduce runoff

Professor Tom Fisher wades into the water just past his knees in a creek at South Forge. We’re below a bridge on the edge of a narrow two-lane road that winds past farms and houses in Caroline County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The shallow stream itself runs past a farm, through a patch of woods, and into a large metal outflow pipe that carries the water under the road and eventually into the Choptank River on its way to the Chesapeake Bay. 

Open innovation challenge brings new approaches to reduce nutrients in waterways

A technology challenge to developing better and cheaper nutrient sensors made the White House's Top 100 list of projects making an impact in American science, technology, and innovation. Mario Tamburri, director of the Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT) at the UMCES' Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, has been a key member of the Challenging Nutrients Coalition, a national inter-agency initiative working to improve our ability to measure and understand nutrient pollution.

Dr. Jacqueline Grebmeier honored with President’s Award for Science Application

Dr. Jaqueline Grebmeier has seen the impact of climate change on the Arctic first-hand. A research professor and biological oceanographer at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, she has been working for more than 30 years to understand how Arctic marine ecosystems respond to environmental changes. This spring, she was given the President's Award for Excellence in Application of Science for her exceptional and sustained contributions to the understanding of the Arctic.

Chesapeake Bay health improves in 2015

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One of three highest scores recorded since 1986

The overall health of Chesapeake Bay improved in 2015, according to scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The largest estuary in the nation scored a C (53%) in 2015, one of the three highest scores since 1986. Only 1992 and 2002 scored as high or higher, both years of major sustained droughts.

UMCES graduates next generation of science leaders

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s third annual Commencement ceremony was held on May 10 at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory and featured Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles as keynote speaker. He told graduates, “Don’t ever get tired for searching for finding innovative, cost effective, surprising solutions that really do save us from ourselves and provide for a brighter future.” 

Powell Tate’s Joe Farren joins Board of Visitors

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, a world-renowned research and educational institute dedicated to understanding and managing our natural resources, recently appointed Joe Farren, Executive Vice President with Powell Tate, a division of Weber Shandwick, to its Board of Visitors.