Horn Point Laboratory

Student Stories

“The computer model I am developing will help further the understanding of genetic impacts of hatchery-based restoration and will be useful for making decisions about which actions will be most effective within the Chesapeake Bay and for future restoration programs.”


Christine Knauss is examining how plastic pollution is affecting oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.

"Microplastics are a global problem and are found in every body of water, even in the most remote areas. Plastic ingestion itself can be harmful to organisms because it can block the digestive system. Plastics also attract organic pollutants that are in the water, possibly creating new pathways for chemicals to get into organisms and the food chain."


Juan Alvarez, understanding the ecological role of Puerto Rico's bioluminescent bays

"These coastal lagoons that we call bioluminescent lagoons are really important for the people of Puerto Rico because they represent a source of income and also it’s part of their cultural identity. We need to develop better tools to manage these systems. With the type of research we’re conducting, we can provide useful and updated information on how to develop those management plans and hopefully put in place better actions of conservation toward the lagoons."


Emily Russ, understanding sediment's role, for better and worse, in Chesapeake Bay

"Sediment is considered one of the main pollutants contributing to water quality degradation in the Chesapeake Bay. Also, sediment often has nutrients or other chemicals attached to it, which can negatively impact water quality. It is important to understand from where this sediment is being eroded to manage sediment input to the Chesapeake Bay."


Blake Clark, understanding carbon cycling and biogeochemistry

"I have been at Horn Point as an UMCES student since the summer of 2014. I came to Horn Point because of the opportunity to work in a cutting-edge laboratory under my advisor, Raleigh Hood, and the strong interdisciplinary research at UMCES. The wonderful challenges and opportunities that the Chesapeake Bay provides also appealed to me. The great fishing and Eastern Shore lifestyle sealed the deal."


Melanie Jackson, understanding oysters' ability to filter nitrogen pollution

"I'm uncovering information that will help decision-makers determine whether oyster restoration and aquaculture can be applied as a best-management practice to remove nitrogen pollution and improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay."


Wenfei Ni, understanding physical oceanography

2014 Presidential Fellow 

“Climate change has been a non-ignorable and significant fact that is closely bound up with our daily lives. It is not only about getting warmer but also causes complicated environmental change within the whole earth system. The subsistence of estuarine ecosystem rests upon the water quality environment, which is able to provide abundant seafood resources. Thus, using coupled numerical model to quantify the water quality variation with response to the changing climate is helpful for the evaluation and management of estuarine ecosystem.”