The NCCOS-operated Cooperative Oxford Laboratory in Oxford, Maryland, participated in this year’s Oxford Day celebration, with 275 people attending an open house on lab grounds. The open house offered the public an opportunity to learn about the work done at the lab.
Activities included touch tanks with native animals, like blue crabs and horseshoe crabs, as well as tanks to view sturgeon, catfish, and snakeheads. Interactive displays educated visitors on aquaculture, oyster sanctuaries, and fish habitat. Participants separated and examined DNA from fruit, dissected real squid, and built a buoy or underwater robot to learn how technology helps us understand our environment. A diorama demonstrated how pollution affects a watershed, and displays presented information about the lab’s 55-foot research vessel, R/V Chesapeake, and the history of the laboratory.
Located on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, the Oxford Laboratory was established in 1960 primarily to investigate oyster diseases that struck the region in the late 1950s. The facility became the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory in 1987 through an agreement between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and NOAA’s National Ocean Service to share the facility and cooperate in research. NCCOS operates the 16,000 square-foot main laboratory, with onsite partners, including: NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Coast Guard.