"I study bacteria in the ocean and how they cycle nutrients to support the life of other organisms. More specifically, I look at bacteria that live inside of marine sponges and how phosphorus moves throughout coral reef ecosystems. Similar to the way that bacteria live inside of us and keep us healthy, bacteria are inside a lot of marine animals like sponges. "
Amanda Lawrence on crab catch limits and size
"Specifically, I am looking at hormone levels and sperm content and relating it to the crab’s size to help policy makers establish size limits for fishermen who collect the crabs. We are also trying to understand what kind of hormone levels are found in sexually mature crabs and if that is related to the size of crabs."
Taylor Armstrong on controlling toxic algal blooms in lakes
Ana Sosa on the microorganisms found on plastics
"Plastic pollution is one of the biggest concerns of environmental science. Artificial polymers can be found in every single body of water and can persist there for decades and move with the water currents. Microorganisms living on these particles can have a significant impact on global nutrient cycles or could potentially be pathogens that affect aquatic organisms or even harm humans."
Daniela Tizabi on finding a way to fight tuberculosis in marine sponges
"With the drug resistance epidemic, it’s critical to find novel antibiotics where current treatments fail. An estimated one-third to one-fourth of the global population is currently infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and several strains of this pathogen are completely resistant to treatment. Almost 2 million people died of tuberculosis in 2015 alone. Finding a new way to attack this bacterium and prevent infection could save many lives."
Mary Larkin on the link between diet and inflammation in fish
"It wasn’t until I started my Ph.D. on the toxicology track at IMET that I was introduced to the impact of my work in that greater ecological sense. Even though I’m looking at molecular mechanisms and immunology in fish, I’m understanding the impact of that for aquaculture and sustainability for the environment."
Matt Spitznagel on disease in blue crabs
"There are at least a half dozen crab reoviruses that we know of and hundreds likely still to be identified and studied. That almost certainly impacts every single global crab and crustacean species."
Shadaesha Green on deep sea red crabs
"Right now the red crab is a federally managed species, but there’s not known information about their biology so we don’t know a lot about reproduction and their molting patterns. Looking at these hormones and studying their effects on reproduction is important so we can have an overlook of how this works."
Sam Major on microbial communities associated with algae impact biofuel
“I decided to come here because it is not your typical graduate experience. Working with UMCES and IMET allows me to interact with local entrepreneurs, leaders in biotechnology, and professors from all over the University of Maryland System.”
Leah Maurer on early development of blue crabs
"In fifth grade, the Oyster Restoration Partnership came to my school, and they showed us how the urban environment can hurt the Bay. Ever since then, I’ve been interested in the environment. It just so happens that I landed a position working with blue crab, which is a very important species in the Bay."