Ming Li and Matthew Gray named 2024-2025 U.S. Fulbright Scholars

March 8, 2024
UMCES Faculty Members, Ming Li and Matthew Gray.

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) faculty members Ming Li and Matthew Gray have been named U.S. Fulbright Scholars for the 2024-2025 academic year.

In partnership with 160 countries around the globe, the U.S. Fulbright Program seeks to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and partner countries through educational and cultural exchange programs. Indeed, the program provides unique opportunities for scholars to teach and conduct research abroad. Li was selected to work with Portuguese scientists on coastal harmful algal bloom (HAB) forecasting and warning system development, while Gray will make his way to Sweden to test hypotheses about oyster types that may thrive in warmer, more acidic oceans as a result of future climate change.

"I'm honored and excited to have received this award, which will allow me to foster relationships with oceanographers at the Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere in Portugal," said Li, a professor at UMCES' Horn Point Laboratory. "My ultimate goal is to bolster U.S.-Portuguese collaborations on research of HABs as well as advance the state-of-the-art models for predicting HABs in coastal oceans and estuaries."

Gray, who has been investigating how brooding species of oysters – those that incubate young in a brooding chamber before being released – may have evolved their traits to cope with acidification stress. He has been collaborating informally with Swedish scientists at the University of Gothenburg since 2022.

"Our short-term goals include conducting acidification experiments with the European Flat oyster, but my hope is the award will help establish long-lasting collaborations with researchers in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe," said Gray, an assistant professor at UMCES' Horn Point Laboratory. "Being awarded the U.S. Fulbright Scholar Award, working in Sweden alongside fellow scientists, and attending European conferences will help us share our story and build these relationships. We are very excited about this opportunity. Tack så mycket, Fulbright!"

According to the program’s website, Fulbright scholars also play a critical role in U.S. public diplomacy, establishing long-term relationships between people and nations. Alumni of the Fulbright Program include 62 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 80 MacArthur Fellows and thousands of leaders and world-renowned experts in academia and many other fields across the private, public and non-profit sectors.

"These awards exemplify the quality of scientific research being done at Horn Point/UMCES," said Michael Sieracki, oceanographer and director of the UMCES Horn Point Laboratory. 

Both professors will begin their respective research programs later this fall.