Press Releases

Media Contact:
Amy Pelsinsky

Study explores role of methane release during dead zone and storm events

SOLOMONS, MD (June 21, 2016)--We all know by now that methane is bad for the environment. It’s one of those greenhouse gases that trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere and contribute to our warming climate. It’s regularly emitted during the production and transport of coal and oil, and sometimes even cows get the blame. However, a new study finds that estuaries like the Chesapeake Bay could be contributing significantly more methane to the atmosphere than once thought. Estuaries and coastal systems are thought to be a relatively small source of atmospheric methane, as little as 3%. However, a new study from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) found that the methane building up in the Chesapeake Bay alone, if released, would be equal to the current estimates for all the estuaries in the world combined.

Hypoxic zone size affected by low river flow and nutrient loading

Scientists expect that this year’s mid-summer Chesapeake Bay hypoxic low-oxygen zone or “dead zone” – an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and aquatic life – will be approximately 1.58 cubic miles, about the volume of 2.3 million Olympic-size swimming pools. This is close to the long-term average as measured since 1950. The anoxic portion of the zone, which contains no oxygen at all, is predicted to be 0.28 cubic miles in early summer, growing to 0.31 cubic miles by late summer. Low river flow and low nutrient loading from the Susquehanna and Potomac rivers this spring account for the smaller predicted size of the anoxic portion.

Study of Susquehanna Flats shows resilience in the face of major storms

CAMBRIDGE, MD (May 26, 2016)—An expansive bed of underwater grass at the mouth of the Susquehanna River has proven it is able to “take a licking and keep on ticking.” A recent study has found that the submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) bed at Susquehanna Flats, which only recently made a comeback in the Chesapeake Bay, was not only able to survive a barrage of rough storms and flooding, but it has proven a natural ability to protect and maintain itself. 

SOLOMONS, MD (MAY 18, 2016) – 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.

One of three highest scores recorded since 1986

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 17, 2016)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. 

SOLOMONS, MD (May 10, 2016)--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.” 

FROSTBURG, MD (May 4, 2016) — “It always amazes me that there seems to be an unending supply of western Marylanders who deserve to be recognized for the excellence of their contributions in environmental education,” said University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) Director Dr. Donald Boesch as he kicked off the 25thAnniversary of the Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Awards. Boesch, in his 26th year as UMCES president, was overwhelmed by both the crowd of more than 120 attendees and the dedication of the awardees.

Host of PBS Earth: The Operators’ Manual and Author to Speak at Community Learning Series Event

FROSTBURG, MD (May 2, 2016) — The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science – Appalachian Laboratory proudly presents “Powering the Future: Good News in the Greenhouse,” with Dr. Richard Alley on Thursday, May 12 at 6:00PM at the FSU Performing Arts Center in Frostburg, Maryland. The event, part of the Appalachian Laboratory’s Watershed Moments Community Learning Series, is free and open to the public.

BALTIMORE, MD (April 28, 2016)—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. 

Activities for Learners of All Ages

FROSTBURG, MD (April 22, 2016) – If you’re curious as to what four-year old children and river otters could possibly have in common (answer: they’re both “selective” eaters), visit the UMCES Appalachian Laboratory on Saturday, May 7 from 10 am to 2 pm for its annual Open House. No matter your age or background, you'll have a chance to immerse yourself in hands-on experiments, interact with scientists working (and residing) in your community, and enjoy aerial drone demonstrations to learn how researchers are using this technology in our area. 

BALTIMORE, MD (April 15, 2016)—Professor Russell Hill, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) faculty member and director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET), has received a 2016 USM Regents’ Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring, the highest honor that the Board bestows to recognize exemplary faculty achievement.

FROSTBURG, MD (March 28, 2016) – Ms. Kelly Pearce was recently presented with the Outstanding Wildlife Student Award by the MD-DE Chapter of The Wildlife Society. Ms. Pearce is a PhD candidate in the Marine Estuarine and Environmental Science Program at the University of Maryland, College Park, and her studies are based at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science-Appalachian Laboratory.