2004 After Hours Lectures

Groundwater Discharge to Coastal Systems: Implications for Chesapeake Bay

(November 18, 2004) Groundwater is a major contributor of contaminants to the Chesapeake Bay. Excess nutrients from this "invisible" source may ultimately postpone our efforts to meet proposed water quality criteria. Join Dr. William Reay as he describes the role of groundwater in Bay ecosystems and how area residents can help reduce groundwater pollution and its impacts on the Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay Crater: Modern Consequences of an Ancient Cataclysm

(October 28, 2004) Thirty-five million years ago a meteoroid struck what is now eastern Virginia. The impact ejected a huge cloud of debris, spawned a train of gigantic tsunamis, and left the largest impact crater in the U.S., now buried under hundreds of feet of sand and clay. Join us as crater co-discoverer David Powars explores how this catastrophic event continues to affect the geology and groundwater of tidewater Virginia. See and touch cores of the impact debris and learn about on-going and planned research.

Isabel in the Chesapeake: A look back and a glimpse ahead

(September 30, 2004) Isabel, a Category 2 hurricane at landfall, produced more shoreline damage in lower Chesapeake Bay than was expected from a storm of its intensity. Join us as Dr. Michael Kearney examines the reasons for Isabel's surprising wrath, compares its damage to that wrought by the similar "Storm King" Hurricane of 1933, and explores the increased risk of future storm damage posed by rising sea level.

Seahorses of the Chesapeake and Beyond

(August 26th, 2004) Join us as Senior Aquarist Jorge Gomezjurado of the National Aquarium in Baltimore explores the wonderful world of seahorses. Gomezjurado, who helped design the Aquarium's all-time top-rated exhibit Seahorses: Beyond Imagination, will discuss the natural history of seahorses, sea dragons, and pipefish from Chesapeake Bay to Australia.

Marine biodiversity and environmental health: why bugs and slugs matter

(July 29, 2004) The ecosystems and natural resources of the oceans, like those on land, are being fundamentally changed by human activities. The global scale of these changes has been recognized only recently, but has pervasive implications for human welfare. Join Dr. Emmett Duffy as he explores the changing state of marine ecosystems and their role in providing essential services to human society.

Horseshoe crabs: Ancient species, modern controversy

(May 27, 2004) Horseshoe crabs have existed for 200 million years but now face serious threats from combined exploitation by commercial harvesters, biomedical companies, and migrating shorebirds. Join Dr. Jim Berkson, founder of Virginia Tech's Horseshoe Crab Research Center, as he describes the crabs' ecology and efforts to sustain their population.

To introduce, or not to introduce: that is the question

(April 29, 2004) The oyster is a keystone species in Chesapeake Bay and was long a mainstay of the Bay economy. But oysters are now scarce and restoration is challenged by both disease and degraded environments. Introduction of a non-native oyster is one option for rebuilding the Bay's oyster resource. Join Dr. Roger Mann as he describes how the successes and failures of past introductions help frame the question of introducing non-native oysters to the Chesapeake, and what role science can play in the decision.

American Shad: The fall and hopeful recovery of a traditional Bay fishery

(March 25, 2004) The shad spawn was a rite of spring for many Virginians and once supported the Commonwealth's largest commercial fishery. But severe declines in catches in the 1980s forced a ban on in-river fishing in 1994. Join Dr. John Olney as he describes the life history of this migratory fish, the factors contributing to its decline, and the current status of its populations in Virginia.

What Lies Beneath: Exploring the Mysteries of Chesapeake Bay's Mud and Sand Ecosystems

(February 26, 2004) Join Dr. Linda Schaffner as she explores Chesapeake Bay's weird and wonderful bottom dwellers and their fundamental influence on the Bay ecosystem.

People and a Changing Chesapeake: The last 5,000 years

(January 29, 2004) Dr. Dennis Blanton kicks off the 2004 After Hours Seminar Series with a presentation on how people have adapted to a changing Chesapeake Bay during the last 5,000 years.