[Chesapeake Quarterly masthead]
Volume 2, Number 3
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Spotlight on Research

A National Agenda for Oyster Research

In its ongoing efforts to combat oyster disease and ensure the safety of public health in oyster consumption, the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program has been supporting two long-term research programs, the Oyster Disease Research Program and the Gulf Oyster Industry Program. Both have led to some notable success; for example, the development of disease-tolerant strains of Crassostrea virginica, the oyster native on the Eastern seaboard from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Despite research advances that have made their way into the field, difficult challenges remain, from restoring sustainable oyster populations in the mid-Atlantic to uncovering the causes of "summer mortalities" on the west coast to minimizing the impacts of Juvenile Oyster Disease that afflicts hatchery-reared oysters in the northeast.

To assess the progress of both the ODRP and GOIP and develop a set of research priorities that addresses issues of disease and health in the nation's oyster producing regions, the Maryland and Virginia Sea Grant programs, in coordination with National Sea Grant, brought together scientists, resource managers and industry representatives from around the country. Participants attending the conference on "Oyster Research Restoration in U.S. Coastal Waters" in Annapolis broke into workgroups to reach consensus recommendations for research needs in the following areas: (1) oyster fisheries management and restoration, (2) genetics and oyster populations, (3) frontiers of disease research, (4) aquaculture and hatchery issues, (5) public health and processing. A draft report is now in review and will be released before the end of the year.

To obtain a copy of the report or to be notified when it is available on the web, please contact Maryland Sea Grant at 301.403.4220, x 22, or write connors@mdsg.umd.edu.

Coastal Technology

In response to a special request for proposals for the development of innovative technologies that link research to product development, Maryland Sea Grant is funding three projects that promise to do just that. "Our aim," says Fredrika Moser, Assistant Director for Research, "was to catalyze novel technological efforts that might not ordinarily have fit under our core research objectives but that could have important implications for applied science and for Extension." The three proposals selected for funding are:

  • Patricia M. Glibert and Louis A. Codispoti, UMCES, HPL, Producing and Deploying an Autonomous Urea Monitor
  • Shao-Jun Du, COMB, Enhancing Fish Muscle Growth through Blocking Myostatin Function
  • David R. Tilley and Andrew Baldwin, UMCP Hyperspectral Reflectance of Freshwater Tidal Emergent Macrophytes as a Remote Sensing Tool for Assessing Wetland Nitrogen Status

"We were pleased by the response from the research community," Moser says, "and especially by the submission of proposals from principal investigators who had never requested Sea Grant support. To ensure the finest marine research," she adds, "we need to encourage participation from scientists throughout the state."

For more information on these awards and on funding for Maryland Sea Grant research, please contact Dr. Moser at 301.403.4220, ext. 16, or write moser@mdsg.umd.edu.

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