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News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

A new study by scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Cornell University and Duke University is the first in a series to understand how marine mammals like porpoises, whales, and dolphins may be affected by the construction of wind farms off the coast of Maryland. The new research offers insight into previously unknown habits of harbor porpoises in the Maryland Wind Energy Area, a 125-square-mile area off the coast of Ocean City that may be the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm. Offshore wind farms provide renewable energy, but activities during the construction can affect marine mammals that use sound for communication, finding food, and navigation. “It is critical to understand where marine mammals spend their time in areas of planning developments, like offshore wind farms, in order to inform regulators and developers on how to most effectively avoid and minimize negative impacts during the construction phase when loud sounds may be emitted,” said Helen Bailey, the project leader at the UMCES’ Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. Scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science used underwater microphones called hydrophones to detect and map the habits of harbor porpoises, one of the smallest marine mammals. Bailey describes harbor porpoises as “very shy” ranging 4 to 5 feet long with a small triangular fin that can be hard to spot. They swim primarily in the ocean, spending summers north in the Bay of Fundy and migrating to the Mid-Atlantic, as far south as North Carolina, in the winter.  There are about 80,000 of them in the northwestern Atlantic. “There was so little known about them in this area,” said Bailey. “It was suspected they used the waters off Maryland, but we had no idea how frequently they occurred here in the winter until we analyzed these data.” Porpoises produce echolocation clicks, a type of sonar that hits an object and reflects back to tell them its distance, size and shape. They use it to navigate and feed. The researchers used hydrophones anchored 65-145 feet deep, and about 10 feet off the bottom of the ocean, to pick up these clicks over the course of a year. “We found that harbor porpoises occurred significantly more frequently during January to May, and foraged for food significantly more often in the evenings to early mornings,” said study author Jessica Wingfield. Scheduling wind farm construction activities in the Maryland WEA to take place during summer months (June to September) could reduce the likelihood of disturbance to harbor porpoises. “We were certainly surprised by how frequently we detected harbor porpoises because there had not been a lot of reported sightings,” said Wingfield. Maryland Department of Natural Resources secured the funding for this study from the Maryland Energy Administration’s Offshore Wind Development Fund and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. “Year-round spatiotemporal distribution of harbour porpoises within and around the Maryland wind energy area” was recently published in PLOS ONE.


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: phys.org

UMCES graduate student Jessica Wingfield is first author on the paper. Credit: University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science A new study by scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Cornell University and Duke University is the first in a series to understand how marine mammals like porpoises, whales, and dolphins may be impacted by the construction of wind farms off the coast of Maryland. The new research offers insight into previously unknown habits of harbor porpoises in the Maryland Wind Energy Area, a 125-square-mile area off the coast of Ocean City that may be the nation's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm. Offshore wind farms provide renewable energy, but activities during the construction can affect marine mammals that use sound for communication, finding food, and navigation. "It is critical to understand where marine mammals spend their time in areas of planning developments, like offshore wind farms, in order to inform regulators and developers on how to most effectively avoid and minimize negative impacts during the construction phase when loud sounds may be emitted," said Helen Bailey, the project leader at the UMCES' Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. Scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science used underwater microphones called hydrophones to detect and map the habits of harbor porpoises, one of the smallest marine mammals. Bailey describes harbor porpoises as "very shy" ranging 4 to 5 feet long with a small triangular fin that can be hard to spot. They swim primarily in the ocean, spending summers north in the Bay of Fundy and migrating to the Mid-Atlantic, as far south as North Carolina, in the winter. There are about 80,000 of them in the northwestern Atlantic. "There was so little known about them in this area," said Bailey. "It was suspected they used the waters off Maryland, but we had no idea how frequently they occurred here in the winter until we analyzed these data." Porpoises produce echolocation clicks, a type of sonar that hits an object and reflects back to tell them its distance, size and shape. They use it to navigate and feed. The researchers used hydrophones anchored 65-145 feet deep, and about 10 feet off the bottom of the ocean, to pick up these clicks over the course of a year. "We found that harbor porpoises occurred significantly more frequently during January to May, and foraged for food significantly more often in the evenings to early mornings," said study author Jessica Wingfield. Scheduling wind farm construction activities in the Maryland WEA to take place during summer months (June to September) could reduce the likelihood of disturbance to harbor porpoises. "We were certainly surprised by how frequently we detected harbor porpoises because there had not been a lot of reported sightings," said Wingfield. Maryland Department of Natural Resources secured the funding for this study from the Maryland Energy Administration's Offshore Wind Development Fund and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. "Year-round spatiotemporal distribution of harbour porpoises within and around the Maryland wind energy area" was recently published in PLOS ONE. Explore further: Study recommends ongoing assessment of impact of offshore wind farms on marine species More information: Jessica E. Wingfield et al, Year-round spatiotemporal distribution of harbour porpoises within and around the Maryland wind energy area, PLOS ONE (2017). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176653


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

SOLOMONS, MD (MAY 5, 2017)--A new study by scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Cornell University and Duke University is the first in a series to understand how marine mammals like porpoises, whales, and dolphins may be impacted by the construction of wind farms off the coast of Maryland. The new research offers insight into previously unknown habits of harbor porpoises in the Maryland Wind Energy Area, a 125-square-mile area off the coast of Ocean City that may be the nation's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm. Offshore wind farms provide renewable energy, but activities during the construction can affect marine mammals that use sound for communication, finding food, and navigation. "It is critical to understand where marine mammals spend their time in areas of planning developments, like offshore wind farms, in order to inform regulators and developers on how to most effectively avoid and minimize negative impacts during the construction phase when loud sounds may be emitted," said Helen Bailey, the project leader at the UMCES' Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. Scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science used underwater microphones called hydrophones to detect and map the habits of harbor porpoises, one of the smallest marine mammals. Bailey describes harbor porpoises as "very shy" ranging 4 to 5 feet long with a small triangular fin that can be hard to spot. They swim primarily in the ocean, spending summers north in the Bay of Fundy and migrating to the Mid-Atlantic, as far south as North Carolina, in the winter. There are about 80,000 of them in the northwestern Atlantic. "There was so little known about them in this area," said Bailey. "It was suspected they used the waters off Maryland, but we had no idea how frequently they occurred here in the winter until we analyzed these data." Porpoises produce echolocation clicks, a type of sonar that hits an object and reflects back to tell them its distance, size and shape. They use it to navigate and feed. The researchers used hydrophones anchored 65-145 feet deep, and about 10 feet off the bottom of the ocean, to pick up these clicks over the course of a year. "We found that harbor porpoises occurred significantly more frequently during January to May, and foraged for food significantly more often in the evenings to early mornings," said study author Jessica Wingfield. Scheduling wind farm construction activities in the Maryland WEA to take place during summer months (June to September) could reduce the likelihood of disturbance to harbor porpoises. "We were certainly surprised by how frequently we detected harbor porpoises because there had not been a lot of reported sightings," said Wingfield. Maryland Department of Natural Resources secured the funding for this study from the Maryland Energy Administration's Offshore Wind Development Fund and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. "Year-round spatiotemporal distribution of harbour porpoises within and around the Maryland wind energy area" was recently published in PLOS ONE. The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland's natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century.


News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

A new study by scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Cornell University and Duke University is the first in a series to understand how marine mammals like porpoises, whales, and dolphins may be affected by the construction of wind farms off the coast of Maryland. The new research offers insight into previously unknown habits of harbor porpoises in the Maryland Wind Energy Area, a 125-square-mile area off the coast of Ocean City that may be the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm. Offshore wind farms provide renewable energy, but activities during the construction can affect marine mammals that use sound for communication, finding food, and navigation. “It is critical to understand where marine mammals spend their time in areas of planning developments, like offshore wind farms, in order to inform regulators and developers on how to most effectively avoid and minimize negative impacts during the construction phase when loud sounds may be emitted,” said Helen Bailey, the project leader at the UMCES’ Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. Scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science used underwater microphones called hydrophones to detect and map the habits of harbor porpoises, one of the smallest marine mammals. Bailey describes harbor porpoises as “very shy” ranging 4 to 5 feet long with a small triangular fin that can be hard to spot. They swim primarily in the ocean, spending summers north in the Bay of Fundy and migrating to the Mid-Atlantic, as far south as North Carolina, in the winter.  There are about 80,000 of them in the northwestern Atlantic. “There was so little known about them in this area,” said Bailey. “It was suspected they used the waters off Maryland, but we had no idea how frequently they occurred here in the winter until we analyzed these data.” Porpoises produce echolocation clicks, a type of sonar that hits an object and reflects back to tell them its distance, size and shape. They use it to navigate and feed. The researchers used hydrophones anchored 65-145 feet deep, and about 10 feet off the bottom of the ocean, to pick up these clicks over the course of a year. “We found that harbor porpoises occurred significantly more frequently during January to May, and foraged for food significantly more often in the evenings to early mornings,” said study author Jessica Wingfield. Scheduling wind farm construction activities in the Maryland WEA to take place during summer months (June to September) could reduce the likelihood of disturbance to harbor porpoises. “We were certainly surprised by how frequently we detected harbor porpoises because there had not been a lot of reported sightings,” said Wingfield. Maryland Department of Natural Resources secured the funding for this study from the Maryland Energy Administration’s Offshore Wind Development Fund and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. “Year-round spatiotemporal distribution of harbour porpoises within and around the Maryland wind energy area” was recently published in PLOS ONE.


News Article | December 5, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 5, 2016)--Walter Boynton, a fixture in the world of Chesapeake Bay science for more than 40 years and a longtime professor and estuarine ecologist at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, received the prestigious Mathias Medal Friday night to recognize his distinguished career of outstanding scientific research that has contributed to informed environmental policy in the Chesapeake Bay region. "The medal honors the depth of scientific research and the close relationships between scientists and policymakers that together have proven so beneficial for the Chesapeake Bay," said Fredrika Moser, director of Maryland Sea Grant College, which awarded the honor jointly with Virginia Sea Grant and the Chesapeake Research Consortium. The award is named for the late U.S. Senator Charles "Mac" Mathias of Maryland, who championed efforts to clean up the Bay. "I am extraordinarily grateful to have been selected for this award. I'm honored, and I'm very humbled given the stature of the previous recipients," said Walter Boynton. "I think Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay may just be one of the best places on the planet Earth. The Bay is a huge and changing laboratory and it's right at our doorsteps." Boynton coauthored one of the first scientific papers that implicated excess nitrogen washing into the Chesapeake from farms, parking lots, and other human sources as a key driver of the eutrophication process, which has damaged the Bay and other estuarine ecosystems worldwide. He and a variety of collaborators worked to persuade natural resource managers and policy makers to monitor nutrients in the Bay and to take bold actions to reduce nutrient loads. Eventually leaders responded with a series of management plans now credited with lowering amounts of nutrients in parts of the Chesapeake's vast watershed. Boynton helped to design the Chesapeake Bay Program's monitoring effort, which began in 1984 and is considered one of the best in the world. "Environmental science is a 'we' deal, not a 'me' deal," Boynton added. "Whatever progress I've contributed, it's because I stand on the shoulders of the people who have gone before me and I hold lots of hands. Boynton was hailed by the selection board for his wide-ranging and foundational research, which has offered new insights into how the Bay's ecosystem works. His pioneering research about the Bay's ecosystem dynamics provided new understanding of the causes and ecological consequences of the decline of seagrasses. In addition, his research on the decline of the Bay's striped bass population contributed to the adoption of a fishing moratorium, which helped the population to rebound. More recently, Boynton published findings detailing how long-term management practices to reduce nutrients can lead directly to improvements in Chesapeake Bay ecosystems, as measured by higher abundance of seagrasses, clearer water, and smaller blooms of algae. "Walter is widely appreciated for his scientific genius and dogged pursuit of important questions," said Don Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Boynton's long list of influential public speaking and engagement projects includes advising members of Congress, Maryland's legislature, and local officials. He is known for his lively, friendly public speaking style that puts in simple terms both scientific concepts and the need to continue efforts to preserve the Bay. "Walter has helped us adopt policies that are based on science," said Ann Swanson, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission. "All around the world they wonder how we've done that and we've done that because of people like Walter." Board members also applauded his work as a mentor for students and especially his efforts to educate the public about coastal science. "Walter is a gifted, passionate, and supportive teacher," said Tom Miller, director of UMCES' Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. "Students who have taken courses with him and those of us who are lucky enough to have taught alongside him know what an amazing educator and advisor he is. I would argue Walter's largest and longest impact would be to the generation of young minds he has touched over the years. " Since the Mathias Medal was established in 1990, only six have been awarded, including one to Eugene Cronin, another pioneer in Bay science who hired Boynton for his first job at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory when he was director in the late 1960s. The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland's natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. http://www.


Barry J.P.,Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute | Buck K.R.,Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute | Lovera C.,Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute | Brewer P.G.,Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute | And 9 more authors.
Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography | Year: 2013

The effects of low-pH, high-pCO2 conditions on deep-sea organisms were examined during four deep-sea CO2 release experiments simulating deep-ocean C sequestration by the direct injection of CO2 into the deep sea. We examined the survival of common deep-sea, benthic organisms (microbes; macrofauna, dominated by Polychaeta, Nematoda, Crustacea, Mollusca; megafauna, Echinodermata, Mollusca, Pisces) exposed to low-pH waters emanating as a dissolution plume from pools of liquid carbon dioxide released on the seabed during four abyssal CO2-release experiments. Microbial abundance in deep-sea sediments was unchanged in one experiment, but increased under environmental hypercapnia during another, where the microbial assemblage may have benefited indirectly from the negative impact of low-pH conditions on other taxa. Lower abyssal metazoans exhibited low survival rates near CO2 pools. No urchins or holothurians survived during 30-42 days of exposure to episodic, but severe environmental hypercapnia during one experiment (E1; pH reduced by as much as ca. 1.4 units). These large pH reductions also caused 75% mortality for the deep-sea amphipod, Haploops lodo, near CO2 pools. Survival under smaller pH reductions (δpH<0.4 units) in other experiments (E2, E3, E5) was higher for all taxa, including echinoderms. Gastropods, cephalopods, and fish were more tolerant than most other taxa. The gastropod Retimohnia sp. and octopus Benthoctopus sp. survived exposure to pH reductions that episodically reached -0.3pH units. Ninety percent of abyssal zoarcids (Pachycara bulbiceps) survived exposure to pH changes reaching ca. -0.3pH units during 30-42 day-long experiments. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Wan Z.,Danish Meteorological Institute | Bi H.,Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2014

Observation data on surface dissolved inorganic nutrients in 2000-2009 at 15 stations in the Baltic Sea were used to analyze the ratio of nitrogen change to phosphorus change (N/P) before and after spring blooms. The ratios of nutrient N/P before and after spring blooms vary from 6.6:1 to 41.5:1. To estimate the spatially varied plankton N/P ratios, the observed nutrient N/P ratios as proxies for plankton N/P ratios are used to extrapolate a spatial pattern, and then the spatial pattern is adjusted by comparing observations and model results and the best fit spatial pattern is selected to discern the horizontal variability of plankton N/P, i.e., low in the center of the Baltic, relatively high away from the center. To examine the potential impact of spatially varied N/P ratios on phytoplankton and nutrients, a three dimensional physical-biogeochemical coupled model is used to compare two scenarios: spatially varied plankton N/P ratios versus a constant N/P ratio. When comparing model results to observation data, model results with spatially varied N/P ratios showed consistent improvements over model results with a constant N/P ratio, specifically in dissolved inorganic nitrogen, dissolved inorganic phosphorus, chlorophyll. Therefore, we concluded that the spatially varied N/P ratios can feature the horizontal distribution of plankton N/P in the Baltic Sea. Furthermore, the impacts of the variable plankton N/P ratio on primary production and nitrogen fixation are also investigated using the 3D ecosystem model. The estimated primary production and nitrogen fixation using the constant N/P ratio of 16:1 are 38% and 317% higher, respectively, than those estimates using the variable N/P ratio. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Wan Z.,Danish Meteorological Institute | Jonasson L.,Danish Meteorological Institute | Bi H.,Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
Ocean Science | Year: 2011

The N/P ratio of nutrient uptake, the change of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) relative to the change of dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP), is a key parameter for many ecological models. In the Baltic Sea ecosystem, the N/P ratio of nutrient uptake varies among different basins and different seasons. The N/P ratio of nutrient alteration, i.e., the ratio of DIN to DIP altered before and after spring blooms, is not the same as the N/P ratio of nutrient uptake, but the former can be regarded as an indicator of the latter in the Baltic Sea. Based on the observed N/P ratio of nutrient alteration, we hypothesize a non-Redfield N/P ratio of nutrient uptake. The 3-D-ecosystem model ERGOM coupled with the circulation model DMI-BSHcmod was used to test this hypothesis. When the Redfield ratio was used in the model, the DIP surplus after spring blooms was too high and resulted in excessive growth of cyanobacteria and too much nitrogen fixation. When the non-Redfield ratio was used in the model, these problems tended to disappear. In summary, we show that: (1) the Redfield N/P ratio of nutrient uptake in the Baltic Sea tends to be too high; (2) a N/P ratio of 10:1 appears to work better than the Redfield value; and (3) the N/P ratio of nutrient uptake in the Baltic Proper during spring blooms is around 6:1. As the model limitation using one identical value for two N/P ratios for nutrient uptake and remineralization, the quantitative conclusions are only convincing as a model parameter even though it obviously improves model predictions. Whether this model parameter is consistent with the biological nutrient uptake is worth being further verified with some laboratory investigations or simulations using a more sophisticated model with independent N/P ratios for nutrient uptake and remineralization. © Author(s) 2011.


Underwood S.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Lapham L.,Chesapeake Biological Laboratory | Teske A.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Lloyd K.G.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography | Year: 2015

The Deepwater Horizon disaster caused a shift in microbial communities in Gulf of Mexico seawater, but less is known about the baseline for microbial communities in the underlying sediments. We compared 16S rRNA and functional gene sequences deriving from DNA and RNA with geochemical profiles (sulfate and methane concentrations, δ13C of methane and carbon dioxide, and chloride concentrations) of a sediment gravity core from the upper continental slope of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico (MC118) in 2008, 15km from the spill site. The highest number of archaeal sequences were ANME-1 and ANME-2 archaea in the sulfate-reducing upper core segments (12 and 42cmbsf), ANME-1 and Methanomicrobiales in the middle methanogenic depths (200 and 235cmbsf), and ANME-1 at the deepest depths (309, 400, and 424cmbsf). The presence of mcrA gene transcripts showed that members of the ANME-1 group are active throughout the core and transcribe the mcrA gene, a key gene of methanogenesis and anaerobic methane oxidation. The bacterial community consists mostly of members of the Deltaproteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Cytophaga, Epsilonproteobacteria, and the Japan Sea Group 1 throughout the core. The commonly detected genera of gammaproteobacterial hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria in the water column are not found in this sediment survey, indicating that the benthic sediment is an unlikely reservoir for these aerobes. However, the sediments contain members of the sulfate-reducing families Desulfobulbaceae and Desulfobacteraceae, some members of which degrade and completely oxidize aromatic hydrocarbons and alkanes, and the Desulfobacterium anilini lineage of obligately aromatics-degrading sulfate reducers. Thus, the benthic sediments are the most likely reservoir for the active deltaproteobacterial populations that were observed repeatedly after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the fall of 2010. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Woodland R.J.,Chesapeake Biological Laboratory | Secor D.H.,Chesapeake Biological Laboratory | Wedge M.E.,Auburn University
Estuaries and Coasts | Year: 2011

Small, abundant elasmobranchs use shallow marine areas (<20 m depth) of the US Middle Atlantic coast as nurseries and adult foraging habitat, an area also used by a diverse assemblage of economically important juvenile and adult teleost species. Specimens of three small elasmobranch species (smooth dogfish Mustelus canis, clearnose skate Raja eglanteria, and bullnose ray Myliobatis freminvillii) were collected in August 2007 and 2008 from a study area of ~150 km2, extending 22 km south from Ocean City, Maryland, USA (38° 19′ N) and offshore from 5- to 20-m depth. Stomach contents indicated that fish were part of the diets of smooth dogfish and clearnose skate at a level comparable with sympatric piscivorous teleosts. However, stable isotope data suggest that piscivory is likely an opportunistic foraging behavior in this habitat. Studied elasmobranchs were secondary-tertiary consumers with diets composed primarily of decapod crustaceans, fish, and mollusks. There was significant overlap in diet composition, spatial distribution, and diel stomach fullness patterns between clearnose skate, southern kingfish Menticirrhus americanus (teleost) and, to a lesser extent, smooth dogfish. Despite this evidence for piscivory, their relatively low densities suggest that predation by these elasmobranchs is unlikely to affect teleost populations in shallow coastal ocean habitats. If shared prey were to become scarce, then competitive interactions are possible. © 2010 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.

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