News from UMCES

Hungry planet requires more efficient use of nitrogen

The global population is expected to increase by two to three billion people by 2050, a projection raising serious concerns about sustainable development, biodiversity and food security. Given the world’s growing food demands, nitrogen fertilizer use is likely to increase. Using too much fertilizer, however, will lead to increased pollution of waterways and the air. What’s needed is a more efficient use of fertilizer, which will benefit both food production and the environment, according to a study published in Nature.

UMCES leads in commitment to action on climate change

These days, Dr. Donald Boesch is driving around town in a plug-in hybrid car that when fully charged runs the first 20 miles purely on electricity. As president of the University of Maryland Center of Environmental Science and Vice Chancellor for Environmental Sustainability for the University System of Maryland, he is leading the way in higher education’s commitment to take action on climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and becoming more resilient to climate disruptions.

UMCES appoints new Vice President for Administration

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science announces the appointment of Kent Island resident Lynn Rehn as Vice President for Administration. She joins the leadership team at Maryland’s premiere environmental research university, headquartered in Cambridge, Md., as the chief financial and operating officer.

White House recognizes innovations in nutrient pollution detection led by UMCES-based Alliance for Coastal Technologies

This week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recognized national efforts and innovations in environmental technologies, including the Alliance for Coastal Technologies’ (ACT) Nutrient Sensor Challenge based at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. 

UMCES celebrates 90 years at October 1 event

“Had it not been for their banks of data, proof and evidence, the Bay would’ve died 20 years ago,” said former Maryland Senator and environmental activist Bernie Fowler, famous for his white sneakers and his annual wade-in at the Patuxent River, of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

Decreased nutrient levels are significantly improving Chesapeake Bay health

Chesapeake Bay Report Card 2014

The overall health of Chesapeake Bay improved in 2014, according to scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, with significantly improving trends in both total nitrogen and total phosphorus in the Bay. Overall, the tidal waters of the Chesapeake scored a C (50%), which was up from the previous year’s score of 45% (also a C). The 2014 overall score of 50%, a C, is considered moderate health.

Migratory patterns of Eastern golden eagle population revealed

Eastern North America is home to a small population of Golden Eagles, but despite their vulnerability to habitat loss and other threats, little information has been available on the patterns of their annual migration. Unitl now. Researchers have been able to trace the eagles’ movements through isotopes in their feathers to identify their breeding and wintering areas.

Explore the Chesapeake Bay with science at the Horn Point Laboratory Open House, October 10

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory invites the public to a free Open House on Saturday, October 10, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Located along the banks of the Choptank River on Maryland's Eastern Shore, the laboratory is renowned for its study of marine ecosystems.

Study looks at best way to bring healthy streams back after development

Is it possible to restore a stream disturbed by housing developments and road construction? Can it return to its natural state, complete with buzzing insects and fish and worms that wiggle through its muddy bottom? Ecologist Robert Hilderbrand is about the find out. He and his research team at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Appalachian Laboratory are examining the abilities of different stream restoration techniques to better improve the ecological side of stream restorations in urban watersheds.

UMCES 90: Celebrating 90 years

For 90 years, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science has led the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories spanning from the Allegheny Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, our scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century.

Algal biofuel start-up by UMCES alumnus makes waves

Ryan Powell holds up a vial of water with fingers caked with mud. It is algae extracted from pond choked with a bloom. He is standing on a farm outside of Baltimore, a test site for a new technology he has developed that can harvest algae from open ponds so it can be turned into crude oil. The oil can then be used as jet fuel, fuel oil, and diesel fuel.

Scientists expect slightly below average Chesapeake Bay ‘dead zone’ this summer

Low river flow and nutrient loading reason for smaller predicted size

Scientists are expecting that this year’s Chesapeake Bay hypoxic low-oxygen zone, also called the “dead zone,” will be approximately 1.37 cubic miles – about the volume of 2.3 million Olympic-size swimming pools. While still large, this is 10 percent lower than the long-term average as measured since 1950. 

Alyson Santoro named Simons Early Career Investigator

Dr. Alyson Santoro, assistant professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Horn Point Laboratory, is one of four scientists in the nation to be given the 2015 Simons Early Career Investigator in Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution award by the Simons Foundation. The awards are intended to help launch and support the careers of outstanding young investigators who use quantitative approaches to advance our understanding of marine microbial ecology and evolution.

The secret lives of fish revealed by the digital age

New book shows how the last four decades of technological advances have uncovered hidden migration behaviors of fish

"Imagine the clandestine lives of marine fishes,” begins “Migration Ecology of Marine Fishes,” a new book by Dr. David Secor, one of the most respected voices in marine fish migration studies. Their movements, social interactions, and favorite spots are all obscured beneath the surface. However, an explosion of technological advances in data gathering and analysis has allowed fisheries scientists to observe the secret lives of fish in a whole new way.

Study shows harmful algal blooms in Chesapeake Bay are more frequent

A recent study of harmful algal blooms in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science show a marked increase in these ecosystem-disrupting events in the past 20 years that are being fed by excess nitrogen runoff from the watershed.  While algal blooms have long been of concern, this study is the first to document their increased frequency in the Bay and is a warning that more work is needed to reduce nutrient pollution entering the Bay's waters.

UMCES scientists win Best Paper of the Year award from American Fisheries Society

UMCES' Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL) alumnus Adam Peer (shown in photo) and CBL Director Dr. Tom Miller were recipients of the Best Paper of the Year 2014 awarded by the American Fisheries Society for its journal North American Journal of Fisheries Management.

Dr. Mario Tamburri honored with President’s Award for Science Application

Dr. Mario Tamburri, Research Professor at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory and an expert in coastal observing systems, has been honored by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science with the President's Award for Excellence in Application of Science. Tamburri was recognized for his leadership in applying innovative and well-tested environmental sensor technologies and in steadfastly working to reduce the risk of invasive species through maritime transportation.

Appalachian Laboratory Open House brings hands-on science to the community

Did you know there could be something other than water in the rain? Have you ever seen a tree breathe? Did you know that not all scientists wear lab coats? The Appalachian Laboratory hosted an Open House on May 2 that introduced the community to UMCES scientists and offered a chance to do hands-on science experiments to learn about the environment in western Maryland.

Commencement 2015: UMCES graduates the next generation of scientific leaders

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s second annual Commencement ceremony was held on Friday, May 1, at the Maryland Inn in Annapolis and featured Dr. Holly A. Bamford ’02, Acting Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Management for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as keynote speaker. She told graduates to "take the leap" toward challenges that will come.

Citizens Restoring American Chestnuts to give seedlings to citizen scientists at Appalachian Laboratory Open House

For a third year in a row, Citizens Restoring American Chestnuts (CRAC) will be giving away American chestnuts to individuals who are interested in contributing to science while at the same time learning something about the environment. The give-away will be held at the Appalachian Laboratory Open House (301 Braddock Road in Frostburg) on May 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Open House will also have many other hands-on activities to explore science research at the Appalachian Laboratory.