PRINCESS ANNE, MD – Scientists at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, with the help of a newly awarded $12.5 million National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Educational Partnership Program (EPP) grant, continue a six-year quest to contribute to the region’s understanding of the ecosystems of the Atlantic coast, including Maryland’s coastal bays, and the organisms that dwell in them. NOAA officials announced the award on Capitol Hill.
UMES, the lead institution among six comprising the Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC), is committed to the study of aquatic organisms that inhabit coastal and estuarine waters as well as the study of marshland animals. In conjunction with its important research projects, the Center trains graduate students in the marine sciences for careers with NOAA, principally, and other agencies that require marine scientists. K-12 and undergraduate students are also a vital part of the Center’s educational program in that these students feed the graduate programs. Partnering institutions include Delaware State University, Hampton University, Savannah State University, the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute Center of Marine Biotechnology and the University of Miami Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
“On behalf of the LMRCSC participating institutions, I am deeply grateful to NOAA EPP for the recent award of $12.5 million,” said UMES President Thelma B. Thompson. “LMRCSC has enhanced academic program capacities of the collaborating Minority Serving Institutions in the marine sciences and it will continue to generate a pool of scholars entering that discipline to meet the human resource needs of NOAA, other resource management organizations and universities.”
To its credit, during its inaugural five years of existence, the Center has financially supported 245 high school, undergraduate and graduate students, and 117 students - 96 with bachelor’s degrees, 19 with master’s degrees and 2 with doctorate degrees – have graduated in NOAA core science areas. Currently 100 students, 40 of whom are graduate students, are supported by the Center. In addition, the Center has supported 31 research projects, all being conducted in collaboration with NOAA scientists. Research at the Center targets the study of quantitative fisheries, essential fish habitats, fisheries socio-economics and aquaculture and yields information needed for the protection, restoration and enhancement of coastal and marine fish habitats and fish stocks. Research conducted over the last five years has resulted in more than 70 presentations at scientific meetings, 38 peer-reviewed articles and 32 manuscripts submitted for publication.
“I am extremely pleased with this significant infusion of federal funds by NOAA to UMES,” said Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD), who has been a strong supporter of the Marine Science Center (LMRCSC). “UMES has earned a national reputation for its programs in marine-related sciences and is uniquely qualified to continue its strong educational and research initiatives in marine sciences. The work of UMES and the other organizations with which it is working is helping to increase the representation of minorities in the marine science fields.
Now poised for another five years of intensive study, the Center’s goals include enhancing the academic program capacities of the collaborating Minority Service Institutions, establishing additional research programs in the marine sciences and generating a steady pool of scholars entering marine science.
“The Center’s research over the next five years will further increase our understanding of the influence of anthropogenic and climatic factors on estuarine and coastal marine ecosystems in the United States and will contribute to NOAA’s Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management,” said Dr. Paulinus Chigbu, director of the LMRCSC.”
Suzanne Waters Street, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a research and doctoral granting institution on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, is a historically black university and home to some 4,100 students. The 745-acre campus, which includes a 350-acre research and teaching farm, is nationally recognized for the beauty of its grounds. Its low student-to-faculty ratio, well-funded research programs, historic tradition of inclusiveness and constituent membership in the University System of Maryland combine to make UMES a strong engine of growth and development in its community, providing students with opportunities to learn from a well-balanced array of academic programs that respond to local needs as well as more global concerns.