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The Chesapeake Biological Laboratory

The Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL), a research and education facility of the University of Maryland System, will host our exploration of the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland Tidewater. CBL is ideally located in Solomons, Md., at the mouth of the Patuxent River. The area, currently a mecca for the yachting community, has a long history as a community of watermen who earned their livelihood by harvesting the bounty of the Bay.

Scientists at CBL play a crucial role in providing the scientific information necessary for the development of informed management policies regarding the Bay and its fisheries. The laboratory is at the technological forefront of real-time water quality analysis. Its fishery scientists are investigating the Bay's productivity and trophic structure, while its geochemists study the cycling, loss and accumulation of materials in the Bay sediments. CBL is also the home of the Maryland Institute for Ecological Economics, a leader in the arena of natural resource economics and public policy.

While at CBL, we will take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of estuarine ecology of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers. The Bay has been the center of U.S. esturine research and restoration efforts for over two deades but the problems facing the Bay began many decades before. Their study encompasses a wide variety of disciplines ranging from paleontology, geology and history, to literature, folklife and anthropology.

CBL is a member of a six-institution research and education consortium known as SEARCH, the Solomons Environmental and Archaeological Research Consortium. We will cooperate with scholars of the SEARCH institutions to delve into the history, literature and culture of Tidewater. We will explore the paleontology and archeology of the area at such locations as the Calvert Marine Museum and the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory. A historical reconstruction of the first settlement in Maryland, St. Mary's City, will enable students to learn, first-hand, about the early tobacco farming practices that set into motion the pattern of land use and development with which we live today.

To learn more about the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, click here.
Link to Calvert Marine Museum:
Link to St. Mary’s City: 


coastal studies
Trawl samples from the Chesapeake Bay yield finfish, crabs and other invertebrates for further study.

coastal studies
Shoreline seining provides students with a close look at shallow water inhabitants in the Bay.

coastal studies
Student monitoring of oyster population levels is a necessary component for understanding the issues confronting the Bay.

coastal studies
Students conduct dissections to assess oyster disease levels and body condition.

coastal studies
Local watermen provide their first-hand knowledge of fishery resources on the Bay.

coastal studies
Students hoist the sails of an historic skipjack while cruising the St. Mary’s river.