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,
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
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.
Student handling an Atlantic sturgeon in an experimental aquaculture facility.
Students gather information, first-hand, on how large-scale aquaculture can
provide millions of young oysters to replenish current Bay populations.
Working with pathologists to study the progression of oyster diseases within
different regions of the Bay.
A research vessel captain explains the instrumentation used to guide his ship and
gather scientific data.
Students study experimental oyster culture as a key to the replenishment of
oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.