Event Calendar

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February 2018

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Genetic diversity in tropical seagrass

Genetic diversity in tropical seagrass

Thursday, February 1, 2018 - 11:00am - 12:00pm
Event Location
Schmidt Conference Center

Speaker: Eric Bricker (University of Virginia)

Pre-registration Required
No

Event Details

Our Thursday science seminars are free and open to the public. Because they are directed towards a scientific audience, they are more technical than our evening lectures. Visit our Evening Lecture Page to learn more about our free evening lecture series.

11:00AM - 12:00PM
 
 
 
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The Strange and Wonderful Science of Blue Crabs

The Strange and Wonderful Science of Blue Crabs

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Event Location
Schmidt Conference Center

Speaker: Tuck Hines (SERC)

Pre-registration Required
No

Event Details

When it comes to popularity, few species in the Chesapeake can compete with blue crabs, or Callinectes sapidus, the "savory, beautiful swimmers" of the Bay. But their biology is woven with stories just as rich as their meat, and stranger. Join Tuck Hines, SERC director and blue crab biologist, for an in-depth look at what we’ve learned about the life cycle of blue crabs, and the weird science behind the discoveries. He'll also provide an update on the challenges of sustaining the fishery.

This talk is part of SERC's "Science and History on the Bay" winter evening lecture series. Lectures start at 7pm; light refreshments at 6:30. Free and open to all!

7:00PM - 8:00PM
 
 
Listening for Marine Mammals off Maryland

Listening for Marine Mammals off Maryland

Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 11:00am - 12:00pm
Event Location
Schmidt Conference Center

Speaker: Helen Bailey (Chesapeake Biological Laboratory)

Pre-registration Required
No

Event Details

Our Thursday science seminars are free and open to the public. Because they are directed towards a scientific audience, they are more technical than our evening lectures. Visit our Evening Lecture Page to learn more about our free evening lecture series.

11:00AM - 12:00PM
 
 
 
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Archaeology and Citizen Science at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Archaeology and Citizen Science at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Event Location
Schmidt Conference Center

Speaker: Jim Gibb, SERC research associate and head of the Environmental Archaeology Lab

Pre-registration Required
No

Event Details

Energetic, motivated citizens offer a largely untapped supply of talent that the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s archaeology laboratory harnesses to conduct original scientific research into human impacts on the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Citizen scientists do more than assist scientists: They are the scientists, developing and implementing research designs, analyzing data, and documenting results through report writing and professional conference presentations. This talk highlights three of nearly 20 such projects, and discusses some of the history of the Java Plantation house found on the SERC's Contee Farm.

This talk is part of SERC's "Science and History on the Bay" winter evening lecture series. Lectures start at 7pm; light refreshments at 6:30. Free and open to all!

7:00PM - 8:00PM
 
 
Spatial and Temporal Variation in the Isotopic Composition of Mercury in the South River, Va.

Spatial and Temporal Variation in the Isotopic Composition of Mercury in the South River, Va.

Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 11:00am - 12:00pm
Event Location
Schmidt Conference Center

Speaker: Spencer Washburn (University of Michigan)

Pre-registration Required
No

Event Details

As a toxic trace metal with a complex biogeochemical cycle, mercury (Hg) has been the subject of extensive study. Anthropogenic activity has altered the cycling of Hg in the biosphere on a global scale, and locally at industrial sites where Hg discharges to surface waters often lead to biomagnification in aquatic food webs. Measurement of Hg stable isotope ratios in environmental samples represents an excellent tool for gaining insights into the complex biogeochemical cycling of Hg in aquatic ecosystems systems, particularly those impacted by contamination. At the South River (Waynesboro, Virginia), historic point source Hg inputs from industrial processes ended many decades ago, but sediment and surface water Hg concentrations remain highly elevated relative to regional background. To better understand Hg cycling within this complex fluvial ecosystem, we have analyzed THg concentrations and Hg stable isotope compositions of a number of physical reservoirs of Hg within the South River. By improving understanding of the spatial and temporal variations in Hg isotopic composition, this work aims to provide insights into the processes that control Hg sources, mobility, and fate in the South River.

Our Thursday science seminars are free and open to the public. Because they are directed towards a scientific audience, they are more technical than our evening lectures. Visit our Evening Lecture Page to learn more about our free evening lecture series.

11:00AM - 12:00PM
 
 
 
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Lost Buttons, Oyster Shells and Colonial Diets: Highlights from SERC's Archaeology Citizen Scientists

Lost Buttons, Oyster Shells and Colonial Diets: Highlights from SERC's Archaeology Citizen Scientists

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Event Location
Schmidt Conference Center

Presenters: Jim Breedlove, Jocelyn Lee and Kathleen Cannon (SERC citizen scientists)

Pre-registration Required
No

Event Details

SERC's Environmental Archaeology Lab is the only lab in the center run entirely by volunteers. In this lightning talk-style session, learn about three of the many projects SERC citizen scientists are taking on as they excavate SERC's 17th-century plantations and other historic areas throughout Anne Arundel County. Discover the meat-eating habits of Port Tobacco settlers, the rise and fall of Delmarva's shell button industry, and the stories hidden in centuries-old oyster shells scattered across the SERC campus.

This talk is part of SERC's "Science and History on the Bay" winter evening lecture series. Lectures start at 7pm; light refreshments at 6:30. Free and open to all!

7:00PM - 8:00PM
 
 
Barrier island response to changing climate: the role of woody vegetation

Barrier island response to changing climate: the role of woody vegetation

Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 11:00am - 12:00pm
Event Location
Schmidt Conference Center

Speaker: Julie Zinnert (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Pre-registration Required
No

Event Details

Within the most extensive stretch of coastal barriers, Virginia barrier islands represent a unique opportunity to study vegetation responses to climate drivers with little direct anthropogenic disturbance. In this portion of the mid-Atlantic coast, shoreline erosion rates are highly variable and sea-level rise is 3-4 times higher than the global average. Over the past 32 years, Virginia barrier islands have lost over 25% of terrestrial upland area and island width has been reduced, yet salt-sensitive woody vegetation has expanded across the landscape into grassland. The evergreen shrub, Morella cerifera, is the primary expanding species, with unique engineering features that confer an advantage in nutrient poor coastal soils. In this seminar, plant ecologist Julie Zinnert will address the patterns and mechanisms of shrub expansion at the Virginia Coast Reserve, biotic consequences of these transitions and potential landscape level consequences of woody dominated communities. The transition from grassland to shrub thicket is facilitated and maintained by positive feedbacks where shrubs alter the microclimate, causing warmer winter and cooler summer temperatures, and fewer extreme temperature events. This state change increases annual net primary productivity 3.5-fold, and soil organic matter, nitrogen and carbon. After shrubs establish, there is no evidence of succession to maritime forest; instead there is a strong relationship between shrubs and woody liana vines, which may stabilize the shrub thicket and delay or prevent forest transition. Vegetation type is an important functional component of coastal systems affecting sediment dynamics. As barrier islands respond to sea-level rise by landward migration, vegetative composition of the upland may influence the long-term response of barrier islands to changing climate.

Our Thursday science seminars are free and open to the public. Because they are directed towards a scientific audience, they are more technical than our evening lectures. Visit our Evening Lecture Page to learn more about our free evening lecture series.

11:00AM - 12:00PM
 
 
 
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Preserving the History of a Jim Crow Era School: Restoration at the Mill Swamp/Ralph J. Bunche School & Community Center

Preserving the History of a Jim Crow Era School: Restoration at the Mill Swamp/Ralph J. Bunche School & Community Center

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Event Location
Schmidt Conference Center

Speaker: Sarah Grady, SERC citizen scientist

Pre-registration Required
No

Event Details

Built in 1930, the Mill Swamp School (later the Ralph J. Bunche School) educated African-American students in Maryland for over two decades during a time of Jim Crow and segregation. It became a community center after integration and a fight from the community to preserve it, and today celebrates African-American history and culture. The University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center are partnering with the center to preserve the school building, search for the preceding Freedmen’s Bureau school, and explore other archaeological manifestations of the community’s past. The board of trustees for the center determines the direction of the work. 

This talk is part of SERC's "Science and History on the Bay" winter evening lecture series. Lectures start at 7pm; light refreshments at 6:30. Free and open to all!

7:00PM - 8:00PM
 
 
 
 
 

Feb 27, 2018

  • Preserving the History of a Jim Crow Era School: Restoration at the Mill Swamp/Ralph J. Bunche School & Community Center

    Preserving the History of a Jim Crow Era School: Restoration at the Mill Swamp/Ralph J. Bunche School & Community Center

    Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm
    Event Location
    Schmidt Conference Center

    Speaker: Sarah Grady, SERC citizen scientist

    Pre-registration Required
    No

    Event Details

    Built in 1930, the Mill Swamp School (later the Ralph J. Bunche School) educated African-American students in Maryland for over two decades during a time of Jim Crow and segregation. It became a community center after integration and a fight from the community to preserve it, and today celebrates African-American history and culture. The University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center are partnering with the center to preserve the school building, search for the preceding Freedmen’s Bureau school, and explore other archaeological manifestations of the community’s past. The board of trustees for the center determines the direction of the work. 

    This talk is part of SERC's "Science and History on the Bay" winter evening lecture series. Lectures start at 7pm; light refreshments at 6:30. Free and open to all!

    7:00PM - 8:00PM