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Horn Point Laboratory and Oxford Laboratory

The Horn Point Laboratory (HPL) is an environmental research facility of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCEC) the principle institution for advanced environmental research and graduate studies within the University System of Maryland.  HPL is located on the banks of the Choptank River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  The laboratory is interdisciplinary with faculty engaged in research on the biology, chemistry, physics, and ecology of organisms and ecosystems from wetlands and estuarine waters of the Chesapeake Bay to the continental shelf and open waters of the world’s oceans.  Areas of scientific expertise include oceanography, plankton dynamics, marine macrophyte and wetland ecology, systems ecology, nutrient dynamics and eutrophication, physiological ecology of benthic invertebrates, benthic-pelagic interactions, and aquaculture.


During our visit we will be interacting with scientists involved with a variety of research projects affecting the environmental health of the Chesapeake Bay including submerged aquatic vegetation, the restoration of Poplar Island, sturgeon restoration and aquaculture restoration ecology.  Click here for more information.


Another site that we will visit on Maryland’s Eastern Shore is The Oxford Laboratory, established in 1960 by the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries for the primary purpose of investigating oyster diseases that struck Chesapeake and Delaware Bays in the late 1950s. It became the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory in 1987, through an agreement between Maryland DNR and the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service to share the facility and to cooperate in research. Scientists at the Oxford Laboratory investigate health problems of fish, shellfish and other aquatic life in the Chesapeake Bay and along the Atlantic Coast. They also collaborate with scientists nationally and internationally to improve understanding of aquatic animal health and develop management strategies to prevent and mitigate diseases. The Laboratory participates in the National Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Network, investigating strandings of these rare and endangered animals in Maryland, and sharing information, samples and expertise with other institutions and coastal states. New techniques for classifying and mapping critical reef habitats in Chesapeake Bay have been developed recently at the Laboratory. These methods are now being applied in Maryland’s oyster restoration efforts.  To learn more about the Oxford Laboratory click here.


coastal studies
Student handling an Atlantic sturgeon in an experimental aquaculture facility.

coastal studies
Students gather information, first-hand, on how large-scale aquaculture can provide millions of young oysters to replenish current Bay populations.

coastal studies
Working with pathologists to study the progression of oyster diseases within different regions of the Bay.

coastal studies
A research vessel captain explains the instrumentation used to guide his ship and gather scientific data.

coastal studies
Students study experimental oyster culture as a key to the replenishment of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.