Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology

Student Stories

Graduate student Ana Sosa is studying the microbial communities that live on small pieces of plastic in the Chesapeake Bay to understand how they are affecting their environment.

"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."


"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, understanding 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, understanding 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, understanding 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, understanding 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, understanding 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."