NOAA04-R999-38
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aja Sae-Kung
10/6/04

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NOAA ISSUES AWARD TO UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND HORN POINT LABORATORY TO PREDICT JELLYFISH BLOOMS IN CHESAPEAKE BAY

The University of Maryland Horn Point, under a new $90,878 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will develop a model to predict the distribution and abundance of small jellyfish in the Chesapeake Bay. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The grant, part of the Ecological Forecasting (ECOFORE) program, is managed by NOAA’s Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research/Coastal Ocean Program (CSCOR/COP). ECOFORE was designed to develop a capability to forecast the responses of marine and coastal ecosystems to pollution, climate change, population growth and invasive species. In much the same way that a weather forecast or economic forecast can help society plan for the future, an ecological forecast could allow managers to consider future possibilities and challenges in environmental arenas. The grant to Horn Point is one of the first to be awarded under this new Coastal Ocean Program endeavor.

“Monitoring and predicting ecological responses to various environmental conditions will invaluable in protecting and conserving native species,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA recognizes the importance of these near-shore ecosystems and realizes that a first step in the protection and wise use of these environments is to understand their functioning. NOAA and the Bush Administration are working to improve the understanding of our environment.”

The new research will be based on a model combining water circulation features with temperature and salinity distributions to predict the occurrence of jellyfish. The research will incorporate jellyfish abundance into Chesapeake Bay ecosystem models to help resource managers gain a better understanding of their impacts. Model results will help to synthesize information on factors that influence the distribution and abundance of jellyfish to understand how this predator affects the food web in the Chesapeake Bay system.

This research grant supports the first year of a five-year study involving investigators at Yale University, Western Washington University and the Chesapeake Bay Research Consortium. Also collaborating is the Cooperative Institute of Climate Studies, a joint program of NOAA and the University of Maryland.

CSCOR/COP has awarded up to $30 million in similar grants annually to academic, state, tribal and federal partners to assist NOAA in the study of our coastal oceans. Research sponsored by the Coastal Ocean Program provides decision makers with reliable and timely scientific information. These research programs are critical to the NOAA mission of predicting environmental change, managing ocean resources and protecting life and property.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. To learn more about NOAA, please visit http://www.noaa.gov.

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