Last month, the NCCOS Cooperative Oxford Laboratory in Oxford, Maryland, hosted senior staff from the University of Maryland's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UMD AGNR) to exchange information about respective science portfolios, particularly regarding aquaculture, portfolio intersections, and potential areas for collaboration.
Craig Beyrouty (Dean of UMD AGNR) and Don Webster (UMD AGNR Regional Extension Agent) received a tour of the lab and demonstrations of its capabilities. They learned about several ongoing research efforts at the lab, including: development of oyster best management practices in Chesapeake Bay (work that already includes UMD AGNR), the Vibrio pathogen forecast tool, fish health monitoring and habitat assessments, and the annual oyster disease monitoring program. Additional discussions focused on aquaculture, including production of oysters at Maryland's Piney Point Aquaculture Center; the Choptank River Habitat Focus Area ecological assessment; and investigations of marine mammal and sea turtle strandings and morbidity and mortality events.
NOAA, UMD AGNR, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources meeting participants agreed there is a strong basis for collaboration that should be fully explored. A follow-up meeting is planned for late summer at the Wye Research and Education Center to continue discussions, scope out collaborative projects, and target funding sources.