Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

Science for Citizens

Join us at the oldest state-supported marine lab on the East Coast to learn about innovative research being pioneered by Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL) scientists.  As a part of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), CBL faculty and graduate students are developing new approaches to solving the environmental management problems facing Calvert County, our nation, and the world.

Science for Citizens seminars are split into a fall and spring series, each of which will include five seminars. Each Science for Citizens seminar will be presented by an UMCES scientist and will inform the public about a featured research effort. These seminars are graciously sponsored by the PNC bank.  

PNC Bank


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Spring Dates: March 27, April 3, April 10, April 17, April 24
Fall Dates: September 25, October 2, October 9, October 16, October 23
Time: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., unless otherwise noted
Where: CBL’s Bernie Fowler Lab, 142 Williams Street, Solomons, MD 20688. View a campus map.
Cost: Free. No pre-registration necessary. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Who: Members of the general public. No scientific background needed; everyone is welcome!
Why: Learn something new and interesting while celebrating science on scenic Solomons Island

Fall 2018

September 25, 2018

Chesapeake Bay at the Forefront of Addressing Climate Change
Presented by Dr. Donald Boesch
It’s difficult for people to accept and adjust to the new realities of the future we are facing with global climate change. The dual challenges of limiting climate change and adapting to the changes that can’t be avoided means status quo is not an option. In this seminar, Dr. Boesch will discuss the need improve our ability to communicate the scale and urgency of the changes that Maryland and its citizens will face. While there is no quick fix to climate change, Dr. Boesch will share how science-informed policies are giving the Chesapeake Bay a head start, greater capacity, and better options for adapting to this future.

October 2, 2018

Can Seaweed Clean Up The Mess Left By Your Cell Phone?
Presented by Dr. Johan Schijf
As the demand for high-tech devices has exploded worldwide, so has the need for the exotic metals that are used to make them. When we throw these devices away, we also release elements that were once extremely rare into the environment, creating many questions about their ecological impacts and ultimate fate. This seminar gives an overview of some of these impacts, the challenges of complete end-of-life recycling, and how plants might be used for metal contaminant monitoring and possibly remediation.

October 9, 2018

Are Biofuels Worth the Costs in Brazil?
Presented by Dr. Solange Filoso
We know climate change is real and that our planet is warming up mainly because of human actions. But which has a greater environmental impact: drilling for oil and gas or farming sugarcane to make ethanol, a renewable “biofuel” that releases less greenhouse gas than fossil fuels? Featuring her research on the environmental impacts and greenhouse gas emissions of sugarcane ethanol production in Brazil, Dr. Filoso will discuss how best management practices and other methods can help mitigate problems and create a win-win situation.

October 16, 2018

Are Sunscreens Killing Our Coral Reefs?
Presented by Dr. Carys Mitchelmore
Is your sunscreen poisoning the ocean and killing the coral reefs? This is a question currently being asked in Hawaii, where legislation has been introduced to ban two common sunscreen chemicals; oxybenzone and octinoxate. Researchers at UMCES and UMBC recently measured the concentrations of these chemicals in seawater from Hawaii. In this seminar, Dr. Mitchelmore will share what they’ve found!

October 23, 2018

High-Tech in the High Sea: Innovative Technology Helps Scientists Study the Bering Sea Food Web
Presented by Dr. Hongsheng Bi
If you’ve ever had a fish sandwich from a fast food chain, you’ve probably eaten Alaskan pollock. These fish come from the eastern Bering Sea, located along Alaska’s western coast, which is famous for its bountiful fisheries. But how do interactions between plankton, fish, and jellyfish in the open ocean of the Bering Sea, and changes in their food web, affect important U.S. fisheries? Dr. Bi will discuss how he and his team are deploying high resolution sonar and advanced optical imaging systems to discover answers.

Watch Videos of Past Science for Citizens Seminars

Couldn't make it to a seminar you were interested in? Want to revisit a seminar you attended to learn more? You can watch live-quality videos of most our past seminars on our Science for Citizens video page.