Shellfish Aquaculture Graduate Assistantship

The shellfish aquaculture industry has been rapidly growing in Maryland, yet this industry faces many production hurdles due to social, environmental, and policy factors. The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Laboratory (UMCES-HPL) recently established, with generous support from the Ratcliffe Foundation, the Shellfish Aquaculture Innovation Laboratory (SAIL). SAIL’s mission is to help the industry overcome production barriers and serve as a research and development hub for aquaculture in Maryland. SAIL is housed in the same facilities as the HPL oyster hatchery, which is the largest producer of oyster spat on the Atlantic Seaboard. As a result, SAIL has access to a variety of world-class technical experience and infrastructure for oyster production.


UMCES-HPL is now offering a graduate research assistantship to support a highly motivated Master’s graduate student interested in conducting aquaculture research in SAIL. The successful candidate will develop a Masters project related to aquaculture that addresses a specific problem faced by the industry. Mentors will include Drs. Matt Gray, Louis Plough, and Greg Silsbe, who are HPL faculty and direct SAIL operations. The candidate will have the opportunity to develop numerous skills on subjects that include bivalve physiology, genomics, animal husbandry, algal physiology, remote sensing, open-source technology development (i.e. hardware, software, and sensor development). In addition to research, the candidate will take coursework and earn a degree through the highly interdisciplinary Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences graduate program at UMCES Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, Maryland.


Qualifications: BS degree in biology, ecology, marine science, genetics, fisheries, or engineering and related field with demonstrated competency in mathematics or statistics. Minimum academic qualifications include GRE scores in the upper 50th percentile in each category and a GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 system). To apply, please send an email with a cover letter and CV attached to: Dr. Matt Gray ( with subject header SAIL MSc. Interviews will be this fall (2019); the successful candidate will be expected to apply to the MEES program at UMCES by January 11, 2020 in order to enroll and start at HPL/SAIL in the Fall of 2020.

Horn Point Laboratory