Laboratory Personnel

  • Current Staff and Students
  • Former Students
Connectivity in Estuarine and Coastal Fish Habitats

Historically, estuarine fisheries biology has focused on the theme of estuarine dependency, with an emphasis on microhabitat use. Ironically, however, few fishes that we associate with estuaries are in fact obligatory users (anadromous fishes are a notable exception). What then are the causes and consequences of estuarine habitat vs. coastal habitat use?

Eel Ecology

Elvers and yellow eels are sedentary creatures, showing strong affinity to local regions in nearshore coastal environments, estuaries, and non-tidal fluvial and lacustrine habitats. Our research is aimed at determining basic demographic information in support of better fisheries management of eel stocks.

Age and Growth

Our laboratory seeks to provide regional stock assessment scientists and managers with training and information on demographic analysis of resource species. Much of this involves preparation of hard parts for interpretation of daily and annual increments.

Blue Crab Demographics

Recent declines in Chesapeake Bay blue crab landings, and evidence for declines in recruitment and spawning stock, have prompted increased regulation of harvest, increased habitat management and restoration, and calls for improved scientific understanding on factors that control blue crab production. The goal of our research is to use lipofuscin-based ageing methods to test critical underlying assumptions on survival, growth and seasonal recruitment rates of blue crab in the Bay.

Bluefin Tuna Population Structure

For Atlantic bluefin tuna fisheries, the linked issues of population structure and mixing remain of paramount significance in optimizing utilization of a species well known for its pan-oceanic migrations. Through support by the NMFS, and with strong collaboration with Dr. Jay Rooker (Texas A&M University, Galveston), we are developing and applying otolith microconstituent analysis, which we believe has particular relevance to the problem of mixing.

Sturgeon Conservation

Should we be surprised that no sturgeon species are yet extinct? Sturgeons co-existed with dinosaurs and have survived the cataclysmic ecological effects of asteroid blasts. Why then should we be concerned? The conundrum of sturgeon is that despite their resiliency through evolutionary time, they are particularly sensitive to harvest and habitat degradation. A long-term goal of our laboratory is to participate with federal, state, and international cooperators in programs of sturgeon restoration (in the Chesapeake Bay) and sturgeon conservation elsewhere.

Prospective Students

We are part of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, a venerable 75 year-old marine laboratory, which since the early 1970s has been a member of a consortium of three research laboratories: The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Graduate degrees are awarded through the University of Maryland (College Park campus) Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Studies Graduate Program - the MEES Program. This program administers admissions, curriculum, matriculation, and graduation requirements.

Last updated: 20 October, 2002
Please address any comments, suggestions or questions to: Dave Secor