Ongoing Projects

Rhode River Monitoring
Dating back to 1990, weekly water sampling on the Rhode River from the Chesapeake Bay to Muddy Creek has produced data on phytoplankton photosynthesis-irradiance parameters, allowing us to calculate the annual primary productivity of phytoplankton in this shallow eutrophic sub- estuary of Chesapeake Bay. This is important because the growth of phytoplankton directly impacts the health of the river and the Chesapeake Bay.

Optical Properties
Optics is the part of physics that deals with light in the visible spectrum, the colors the human eye can see. Optics also deals with light in the invisible spectrum, infrared and ultraviolet light. Hydrologic optical principles determine the penetration of biologically damaging ultraviolet light underwater. Understanding the principles of the visible light spectrum will help us explore how light behaves in water.

Completed Projects

Shallow Water Monitoring
This collaborative project focused on modeling the response of shallow tributary embayments and small tidal creeks of the Chesapeake Bay to multiple stressors, such as climate changes, UV-B radiation, CO2 and land use changes. The indicators proposed for use were chlorophyll, water clarity and dissolved oxygen. These predicted the expected distribution values within tributaries and tidal creeks in the major salinity zones of the Bay.


This project developed optical indicators of habitat suitibility for submerged aquatic vegetation for the Atlantic slope. Results were used to update and improve the management tools currently being developed for Chesapeake Bay, which vary by land use and geological province within the mesohaline zone.


CISNet is an interagency effort between EPA, NOAA, and NASA to develop an intensive coastal site network of monitoring and research stations throughout the United States.  Many of these facilities, as well as academic research stations, will be used as outdoor laboratories. Click here for full description of projects.