Research Projects

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Principal Investigator:
Roger I.E. Newell
Co-Principal Investigator:
Jeffrey C. Cornwell, Donald W. Merritt, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Summary:

We will build on our prior Sea Grant funded laboratory-based research by testing in the field the overall hypothesis that substantial amounts of inorganic nutrients can be removed from eutrophic estuaries as a consequence of the activity of suspension feeding bivalves. We will determine the enhancement of rates of denitrification and phosphorus burial associated with restored oyster beds and use these data to parameterize a model of the influence of bivalve feeding on estuarine nutrient dynamics. This research is pertinent to both the Coastal Ecosystem Health and Aquaculture programmatic areas.

Principal Investigator:
Douglas Lipton
Co-Principal Investigator:
Summary:

Objectives: The SGEP focuses on these major goals: to educate and advise marine community users and decision makers by responding to expressed needs in such areas as aquaculture, water quality and living marine resources, commercial fisheries, seafood processing, seafood nutrition, coastal business, boating and recreation, and 7-12 education; to communicate to appropriate as liaison between the University and those who use the region's marine and estuarine resources. Methodology: SGEP staff work directly with the marine community through conferences, workshops, demonstrations, personal contacts, targeted publications distributed via mailing lists and meetings and video productions. Public awareness and education is enhanced through newspaper, magazine, broadcast media and the Internet.

Principal Investigator:
Charles Gallegos
Co-Principal Investigator:
Summary:

The objective of this work is to assist in the goal of restoring and protecting 114,000 acres of SAV by providing scientifically defensible procedures for translating light requirements of SAV into water quality criteria, in a manner able to accommodate regional differences in the optical properties of the suspended particulate matter.

Principal Investigator:
Lawrence P. Sanford
Co-Principal Investigator:
Jerome P.-Y. Maa, Virginia Institute of Marine Science; Jeffrey C. Cornwell, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Summary:

Carry out an exploratory study of bottom sediment erodibility in the muddy northern half of Chesapeake Bay. Compare and evaluate two state-of-the-art techniques for measuring erodibility to ensure high data quality and to investigate potential differences in results. Analyze the data in the context of a newly developed erosion formulation that allows application of results for numerical sediment transport modeling and accounts for a potentially limited supply of erodible sediment. Relate seasonal and spatial changes in erodibility to environmental factors such as grain size distribution, sediment water content, recent sedimentation rate, biological activity, and water quality.

Principal Investigator:
Douglas Lipton
Co-Principal Investigator:
Thomas E. Rippen, University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Summary:

1.) To reduce illness in the U.S. caused by scombroid poisoning. 2.) To reduce losses of histamine-forming food fish from the marketplace caused by onboard mishandling, and to minimize the associated economic, regulatory and social consequences of those losses. 3.) Establish a nationally coordinated educational network from academia, agencies, and commercial fishing/charter organizations to improve communication among these groups.

Principal Investigator:
Matthew P. Hare
Co-Principal Investigator:
Kennedy T. Paynter, Jr., University of Maryland, College Park
Summary:

Several concrete objectives will be met by this work. First, spatial variation across Chesapeake Bay will be examined more extensively and with larger samples than previously, using multiple DNA markers that have proven useful in other oyster studies, and using a sampling strategy that supports tests of isolation by distance. Second, we will examine the extent to which recruitment processes create temporal variation by comparing adults and new recruits at each site. This study is preliminary in that it is designed to reveal genetic patterns that can be informative about demographic processes. The uncertainty associated with previous Chesapeake oyster studies, and the recent changes in the population warrants this preliminary approach.

Principal Investigator:
Jonathan G. Kramer
Co-Principal Investigator:
Summary:

Objectives: The objectives of this project are to organize and facilitate a national meeting to assess progress made in the National Sea Grant Oyster Disease Research Program. Particular emphasis will be placed on efforts made at the Mid-Atlantic states although participation from across the U.S. will be solicited and included. The meeting will examine both the state of our scientific understanding of oyster disease as well as current strategies for managing and restoring populations. Of particular importance will be sessions designed to identify emerging scientific areas as well as strategies for oyster restoration in the Mid-Atlantic and throughout the nation.

Principal Investigator:
Gerardo R. Vasta
Co-Principal Investigator:
Eric J. Schott, Jose A. Fernandez-Robledo, Wolf T. Pecher, Center of Marine Biotechnology, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute
Summary:

Using knowledge of the P. marinus-C. virginica interaction, we will discover strategies to disadvantage the parasite, whether by identification of parasite targets for drug therapy, or by augmentation of host defense responses. We will complete the characterization of APX, including subcellular localization, catalytic properties, and structure; study the effect of environmental and host factors on Fe-SOD and APX expression in P. marinus; examine if C. virginica possess Fe-SOD and APX activities, and if does, find differences between host and parasite in the localization or biochemical characteristics of these enzymes; and explore ways to stimulate ROI production by hemocytes.

Principal Investigator:
Gerardo R. Vasta
Co-Principal Investigator:
Jose A. Fernandez-Robledo, Eric J. Schott, Wolf T. Pecher, Center of Marine Biotechnology, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute
Summary:

The aims of the proposed study is to provide the oyster industry and resource management agencies with validated tools for a true and comprehensive assessment of the distribution of Perkinsus species in oysters along the Atlantic Coast, and to evaluate the virulence and pathogenicity of selected Perkinsus species found in oysters.

Principal Investigator:
Anson H. Hines
Co-Principal Investigator:
Jeffrey A. Crooks, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Summary:

The overall goal of this research project is to assess the importance of coastwise transport of invasive species established in west coast ports and bays.

Principal Investigator:
Robert S. Anderson
Co-Principal Investigator:
Summary:

This project will produce the initial molecular and functional characterization of antimicrobial peptides in Crassostrea virginica, thus supplying unique insight into mechanisms of disease resistance. We hypothesize that antimicrobial peptides play a significant role as protective, cytotoxic effector molecules in oysters comparable to that documented for other invertebrate and vertebrate species,. The prominent role of antimicrobial defenses in other metazoans, as well as our recent demonstration of several antimicrobial peptides in C. virginica serum, provides the rationale for this proposed study. The activity of the peptides will be tested against a panel of bacteria, yeasts and protists, including the oyster pathogens Vibrio anguillarum and Perkinsus marinus.

Principal Investigator:
Eugene M. Burreson
Co-Principal Investigator:
Kimberly S. Reese, Lisa M. Ragone Calvo, Virginia Institute of Marine Studies
Summary:

The overall project objective is to determine the transmission dynamics of P. marinus in low salinity areas in order to develop disease avoidance strategies and to promote wise and effective restoration of oyster populations in low salinity regions of Chesapeake Bay. Specifically we propose to: ( 1) optimize highly sensitive and quantitative PCR diagnostic techniques for the detection and enumeration of water-borne stages of P. marinus from water column samples (2) determine the abundance of water-borne P. marinus cells at four sites located in low salinity areas (9-14 ppt) of three Chesapeake Bay tributaries, the Choptank, Patuxent, and James Rivers, using highly sensitive, specific, and quantitative PCR techniques and (3) determine relative P.

Principal Investigator:
Jeffrey C. Cornwell
Co-Principal Investigator:
Todd Kana, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Summary:

In the lower Choptank estuary, we will identify the influence of temporal variation in organic matter loading and bottom water dissolved oxygen concentrations upon the rate of coupled nitrification/denitrification. We will compare our understanding of the sediment nitrogen cycle in the Choptank River to that in other Chesapeake subestuaries with different rates or sources of nitrogen inputs. Finally we will compare our understanding of the sediment nitrogen cycle in the Choptank River to that in other Chesapeake subestuaries with different rates or sources of nitrogen inputs.

Principal Investigator:
Yonathan Zohar
Co-Principal Investigator:
Summary:

1. To study interactions between analogs of the striped bass native GnRHs and their receptor, in order to tailor a physiologically-compatible spawning induction therapy based on analogs of the most relevant and potent GnRHs and their optimal delivery pattern. 2. To continue studying the regulation of the synthesis and release of the endogenous GnRHs in striped bass, in order to understand the mechanisms underlying captivity-induced impairment of the GnRH system and the "repair" effect of an exogenous GnRH therapy.

Principal Investigator:
Edward D. Houde
Co-Principal Investigator:
Steven P. Minkkinen, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Mariculture, Estuarine and Marine Hatcheries
Summary:

Stocked larvae of American shad contribute to adult stock in a restoration effort being conducted in Chesapeake Bay, but environmental conditions that optimize larval stocking procedures were unevaluated. For this research, larvae were stocked into the Patuxent River during 2000 and 2001 at prescribed locations and dates to determine preferred conditions that maximize growth, survival and interactions with other ichthyoplankton species. Recommended stocking strategies for resource management agencies will result from the research.

Principal Investigator:
Gregory M. Ruiz
Co-Principal Investigator:
Jeffrey A. Crooks, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Summary:

The overall goal of the proposed research is to measure quantitatively the pattern and effects of NIS, using identical methods, on various spatial scales. The project is designed explicitly to support information needs of risk assessment (e.g., Hayes 1997; Hayes and Hewitt 1998) and management decisions, providing parallel data on invasions for two continents. Thus, this advances a long-term goal to develop international approaches to a truly global problem. Specific goals are: (1) Measure the number, abundance, and spatial distribution of nonindigenous species in the fouling community within multiple bays. (2) Compare invasion measures among multiple bays, continental margins, and continents. (3) Measure the ecological effects of invading species across multiple bays.

Principal Investigator:
Joel E. Baker
Co-Principal Investigator:
Summary:

Provide predictive information for management needs on sediment contamination effects on living resources

Principal Investigator:
Robert S. Anderson
Co-Principal Investigator:
Sharon E. McGladdery, Gulf Fisheries Centre
Summary:

QPX is an emerging disease affecting cultured M. mercenaria from Atlantic Canada to Virginia. The major objective is to understand the hosts' defense responses to QPX. Specifically, a suite of hemocytic and serum-dependent immune mechanisms will be quantified and evaluated with regard to resistance to this protistan parasite. Parameters of immunity involved with non-self recognition, inhibition of replication, and killing of QPX organisms by circulating blood cells and serum macromolecules will be measured.

Principal Investigator:
David A. Wright
Co-Principal Investigator:
Rodger Dawson, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Summary:

Through a rigorous shipboard testing program under normal ballasting conditions we propose to demonstrate a comprehensive ballast water treatment system consisting of primary and secondary treatments that will be of immediate practical use to the shipping industry. One primary and two secondary ballast water treatments will be employed in a combination system that will be installed on a vessel in Baltimore Harbor. The primary treatment is a voraxial separator which relies on high centrifugal force to separate suspended particulates from the ballast water inflow. Ultraviolet irradiation and a chemical biocide will be used as secondary treatments to control biota which remain in the "filtrate." Both will be tested singly and in combination with the separator.

Principal Investigator:
Daniel J. Fisher
Co-Principal Investigator:
Summary:

The primary objective of this project is to assess whether endocrine disruption occurs in fish populations on the Delmarva peninsula as a result of chicken manure application to fields. Since 17 B-estradiol is present in elevated concentrations in chicken manure, we hypothesize that runoff from fields treated with manure will exert a direct estrogenic effect on freshwater and estuaries through surface water runoff following application of chicken manure to fields? (2) If so, what concentrations occur in waters and sediments following "standard" application of chicken manure as fertilizer? (3) Are resulting 17 B-estradiol levels sufficient to induce endocrine disrupting effects on resident fish species?

Principal Investigator:
Mary M. Hagedorn
Co-Principal Investigator:
Summary:

Our proposed research is a basic study aimed at the cryopreservation of fish species. In the past, one of the main reasons fish embryos were thought difficult to cryopreserve was their large yolk. Our studies over the past 4 years, examining the yolk and the blastoderm using MR microscopy, suggest that the yolk interior is readily permeable. Rather, the yolk syncytial layer, which surrounds the yolk, may be the main barrier to allowing cryoprotectant permeation into the embryo (a critical element for successful cryopreservation). However, the impermeability of the zebrafish embryo's membranes may prove an insurmountable problem unless we can alter the embryo's membrane permeability. In contrast, the permeability of fish oocyte may help to solve this issue.

Principal Investigator:
Anson H. Hines
Co-Principal Investigator:
Peter P. Marra, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Summary:

This project offers unparalleled opportunities to enhance underrepresented groups participation in marine science, environmental science, and related fields. In a strong partnership with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), we are exposing Morgan State University (MSU) undergraduate and graduate students to research and educational opportunities at MSU and SERC and thereby enhancing the participation of underrepresented groups in marine, environmental, and related sciences.

Principal Investigator:
W. Michael Kemp
Co-Principal Investigator:
Laura Murray, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Summary:

The overall objective of this proposal is to establish quantitative and mechanistic understanding of how variations in spatial distribution (abundance, patchiness) of seagrasses influence the plant susceptibility to eutrophication stresses. This basic scientific information will be translated into simulation formats suitable: 1) for transfer to water quality models for nutrient management; 2) for improving transplantation success; and 3) for educating K-12 students.

Principal Investigator:
Denise L. Breitburg
Co-Principal Investigator:
Jennifer E. Purcell, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Summary:

We propose experiments and modeling to test the hypothesis that low dissolved oxygen (DO) in bottom waters of Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries favors increased importance, and perhaps abundance, of gelatinous zooplankton. Our objectives for this 2-year project are: 1) to determine how low DO affects growth rates of sea nettles (Chrysaorra quinquecirrha) and ctenophores (Mnemiopsis leidyi), and egg production by ctenophores, under a range of prey densities; and 2) to predict whether, how much, and where bottom layer oxygen depletion favors increased growth rates of sea nettles and ctenophores, and egg production by ctenophores, relative to in water columns with high DO throughout.

Principal Investigator:
Thomas J. Miller
Co-Principal Investigator:
Summary:

1. Quantify blue crab growth per molt and inter-molt period in Chesapeake Bay. 2. Develop an spatially explicit model of Chesapeake Bay blue crab that resolves critical life history features at appropriate time and space scales. 3. Use a spatially explicit model to determine the utility of marine protected areas, migration corridors, and spawning sanctuaries to assist management toward ensuring sustainable population abundances.

Since 1977, Maryland Sea Grant has funded scientific research relevant to the Chesapeake Bay and the Maryland residents who conserve, enjoy, and make their living from it. We strive to fund projects that both advance scientific knowledge and offer practical results benefiting ecosystems, communities, and economies throughout the Chesapeake Bay region.

Click on an individual project to find out more. Search current and past research projects here.

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