Maryland Sea Grant recently awarded Dr. Cassie Gurbisz, assistant professor of environmental studies, funding for a new two-year project to study a type of algae known as cyanobacteria in the Chesapeake Bay. These cyanobacteria have been expanding recently -- a concerning trend because they are considered "harmful algae" that can produce toxins and disrupt the natural balance of an ecosystem. However, the causes and effects of their proliferation in Chesapeake Bay are poorly understood. In this project, Gurbisz, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Laboratory and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, will conduct field surveys, laboratory measurements, and simulation modeling experiments to determine why the cyanobacteria are expanding and how they are affecting bay grasses and nutrient cycling in the Susquehanna Flats region of the upper Bay. The team will also analyze cyanobacteria samples for toxin production. The results of the study will assist environmental management agencies in their efforts to monitor and restore the Chesapeake Bay and beyond. St. Mary's College students Sam Muir and Zane Krissoff will be assisting with the research this summer.
April 18, 2022
By Lee Capristo