News from UMCES

Dr. Jacqueline Grebmeier awarded IASC Medal

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Recognized for 30-year career working to understand how Arctic marine ecosystems respond to environmental change

Dr. Jacqueline Grebmeier, research professor and a biological oceanographer at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), has been recognized for exceptional and sustained contributions to the understanding of the Arctic by the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), an international scientific organization that supports leading-edge research through coordination by 22 member countries with Arctic research programs.

Dr. Russell Hill elected to American Academy of Microbiology

Dr. Russell Hill, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science americaprofessor and director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, has been elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology. The Academy, the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology, recognizes excellence, originality, and leadership in the microbiological sciences, and election to this group is a mark of distinction. Academy Fellows are eminent leaders in the field of microbiology and are relied upon for authoritative advice and insight on critical issues in microbiology.

Dr. Russell Hill Chosen for Leadership Maryland Class of 2015

Dr. Russell T. Hill, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science professor and director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Baltimore, has been chosen by Leadership Maryland to participate in the prestigious professional development program dedicated to building a stronger Maryland by educating, cultivating and connecting our state’s brightest leaders. Professor Hill is one of 50 Maryland leaders chosen for Leadership Maryland’s 23rd class – the Class of 2015 – who will complete the eight-month hands-on learning program focused on the state’s most vital social, economic and environmental issues.

Alyson Santoro Awarded Sloan Grant for Archea Research

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in New York announced on February 23 that Dr. Alyson Santoro, a faculty member of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Horn Point Laboratory, was among the winners of the 2015 Sloan Research Fellowships. Santoro’s research focuses on archaea—microbes in the ocean about which very little is known.

Bacteria in marine sponges harvest phosphorus for the reef community

Did you ever wonder why the water is so clear around coral reefs? Scientists have known for years that sponges can filter water and gather nutrients from the ocean, making it appear crystal clear. For the first time scientists at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology have identified that bacteria on sponges are harvesting phosphorus from the water for the reef ecosystem to use for nourishment. The findings were published in the February 23 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

UMCES welcomes Charles O. Monk as new Chair of Board of Visitors

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the premier research and educational institution working to understand and manage our world’s natural resources, welcomes Charles O. Monk II as Chair of its Board of Visitors. Monk is managing partner of the Baltimore office of the national law firm Saul Ewing. An avid sailor, Monk is devoted to improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay and ensuring that Maryland’s environment is preserved for decades to come.

UMCES Scientists to Study Water Quality Consequences of Susquehanna River Sediments and Nutrients

A team of scientists at University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) is beginning a two-year study to quantify the amount of sediment and associated nutrients present in major entry points to the Lower Susquehanna River Reservoir System and the upper Chesapeake Bay. UMCES scientists are building on a recent assessment led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that analyzed the movement of sediment and associated nutrient loads through the lower Susquehanna River watershed to the upper Chesapeake Bay. Although the entire Lower Reservoir System will be investigated, special emphasis will be given to sediment and nutrient loads into and out of Conowingo Pond during high flow events. This study will help policymakers determine the best management options to reduce this effect.

Bay experts Boesch and Boynton earn rank of Admiral of the Chesapeake Bay

Award recognizes the lifetime achievement and is the highest honor the governor can bestow on a person for their environmental contributions. University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Donald Boesch and Professor Walt Boynton were recognized as an “Admiral of the Chesapeake” by outgoing Governor Martin O’Malley during his final days in office.

Arctic scientists receive marine research award

Biologists Jacqueline Grebmeier and Lee Cooper received an Alaska Ocean Leadership Award from the Alaska SeaLife Center in January. The awards are given annually to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the awareness and sustainability of the state’s marine resources.

Presidential Fellowships – 2014

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science congratulates the recipients of the 2014 Presidential Fellowships. The merit-based fellowships support incoming Ph.D. students and are designed to support recruitment of outstanding students into UMCES graduate programs. Students receive up to three years stipend, health benefits, and tuition.

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

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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.