Spring science talks focus on healthy urban waterfronts and oceans

March 1, 2022

Urban waterfronts, including harbors and ports like Baltimore, are a defining feature of coastal cities and serve as gateways to the ocean and the rest of the world. These important areas are particularly vulnerable to the introduction of invasive species, chemical contamination, and conflicts related to intensified coastal development, leading to increased risk to people and coastal resources.

The spring’s Science for Communities seminar series, hosted by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s (UMCES) Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, will focus on the important theme of "The Urban Ocean." A free webinar, presented by scientific experts, will be presented every Tuesday at 7:00 p.m., from March 29 - April 26. Following each presentation, there will be a moderated question and answer session. No scientific background needed; everyone is welcome!


World Harbour Project: Linking Urban Ocean Initiatives Around the Globe

March 29, 7 p.m.

Presented by Judy O'Neil, UMCES Horn Point Laboratory

The “World Harbour Project” has created a global network of cities and linked research programs to investigate urban harbor health and ecosystem functioning. Launched in 2014 by Australia’s Sydney Institute of Marine Science, the program now includes 31 partners across the Pacific, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas, including the U.S. In this talk, Dr. Judy O’Neil will explore UMCES’ role in the project in both Baltimore Harbor and New York. She will discuss how innovation and an increased understanding of shared values and threats are helping to achieve the project vision of building resilient and productive global ports and harbors.

Solutions to Ship Introductions of Invasive Species

April 5, 7 p.m.

Presented by Mario Tamburri, UMCES Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

Commercial ships transport over 80% of the world’s goods and materials and are fundamental to global economies. Unfortunately, large ocean-going ships are also, by far, the largest vector for the introduction and establishment of aquatic invasive species in coastal waters around the world, including the Chesapeake Bay. Invasive species, transported and released through both ships' ballast water and as biofouling organisms attached to ships’ submerged surfaces, can have significant impacts on various local economic, ecological, societal, and cultural resources. This presentation will discuss ships and invasive species, as well as efforts to support wise regulations and effective innovations to solve the problem.

Metals in Urban Estuaries

April 12 , 7 p.m.

Presented By Dr. Andrew Heyes, UMCES Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

Contamination of the Chesapeake Bay and its waters extends beyond nutrients. Organic chemicals, “heavy metals” and trace elements once readily flowed into our urban waters unfettered, a practice clearly evident in our coastal sediments. While at lower concentrations than in the past, heavy metals continue to enter our coastal waterways, and urban expansion and climate change further compound this problem. In this presentation, Dr. Andrew Heyes will explore how metals such as mercury, chromium, copper and zinc have, and continue, to enter our urban waters. Through an understanding of the behavior of these elements upon arrival in the Bay waters, he will discuss how they may or may not impact wildlife and how we utilize this resource.

The Keystone Molecule: What Oxygen and its Depletion Tells Us About Coastal Ecosystems

April 19, 7 p.m.

Presented By Professor Jeremy Testa, UMCES Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

Dissolved oxygen is a keystone molecule in aquatic environments. It is produced by photosynthesis to support food webs, it controls the recycling of key nutrients, and it is essential to the health and survival of most animals.  As a consequence, our understanding of oxygen is central to our understanding of coastal ecology. This presentation explores the role of oxygen in estuaries worldwide, and how its depletion due to pollution and climate change is expected to change in the future.

Urban Seascaping: Principles and Practices for Co-Developing Cities with Shared Waters

April 26, 7 p.m.

Presented By Dr. Samia Rab Kirchner, Morgan State University

Climate adaptation science focuses on the assessment of sea force versus community values. In this webinar, Dr. Kirchner will present indigenous practices of managing land for water and heritage conservation from the Pacific Ocean, Arabia, and Persia. Dr. Kirchner will discuss the need to widen the approach taken by resource managers and scientists beyond individual discipline and expertise to work collaboratively in the nexus between Climate, Culture, and Civics.

Located where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory is the oldest publicly supported marine laboratory on the East Coast. Founded in 1925, it has been a national leader in fisheries, estuarine ecology, environmental chemistry and toxicology for more than 90 years. Our scientists conduct research from the Chesapeake Bay and around the globe. From advising state and national agencies on sustainable fisheries management and breaking new ground in understanding how chemicals move between the atmosphere, sediments, and water to renowned work on nutrient dynamics and the food web, the lab is developing new scientific approaches to solving the major environmental problems that face our world.

UMCES works with academic, governmental, NGOs and corporate partners to advance the science underpinning the revitalization of urban waterfronts, applying expertise in green ports and ship innovations, aquatic sensor technology, chemical analyses, toxicology, and environmental socioeconomics to promote the future human and ecosystems health.

Chesapeake Biological Laboratory's Science for Communities Seminar Series