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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A new report on sea level rise recommends that the State of Maryland should plan for a rise in sea level of as much as 2 feet by 2050. Led by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the report was prepared by a panel of scientific experts in response to Governor Martin O’Malley’s Executive Order on Climate Change and “Coast Smart” Construction. The projections are based on an assessment of the latest climate change science and federal guidelines.
A new study shows that combining improved oyster restoration methods with limits on fishing in the upper Chesapeake could bring the oyster population back to the Bay in a much shorter period of time. The study led by Michael Wilberg of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory assessed a range of management and restoration options to see which ones would have the most likelihood success.
Chesapeake Bay health improved to a C in 2012 and could indicate a reverse in course of declining health, according to an assessment by scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The overall grade was a C, up from a D+ in 2011, and overall Bay health appears to be slowly increasing since 2006.
“I’m cautiously optimistic about the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Bill Dennison of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
Predicting possible record-setting deadzone for Gulf of Mexico
Scientists are expecting a smaller than average hypoxic level in the Chesapeake Bay this year, and a very large “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico based on several NOAA-supported forecast models.
A NOAA-funded forecast for the Chesapeake Bay calls for a smaller than average dead zone in the nation's largest estuary. The forecasts from researchers at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the University of Michigan have three parts: a prediction for the mid-summer volume of the low-oxygen hypoxic zone, one for the mid-summer oxygen-free anoxic zone, and a third that is an average value for the entire summer season.
Dr. Keith Eshleman, a professor at the Appalachian Laboratory and an expert in the field of watershed hydrology, has been honored by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science with the President's Award for Excellence in Application of Science. Eshleman was recognized for his leadership in preparing a landmark report on best management practices for unconventional natural gas extraction, also known as fracking, as part of the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative established by Governor Martin O'Malley.