U.S. Senator for Maryland Chris Van Hollen visited the Morgan State University Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory (PEARL) on September 19, 2018, with the objective of learning more about PEARL research and education efforts that are making a difference in the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Senator toured PEARL’s education laboratory and observed the water filtering capacity of the oyster in action. The next stop included the microscope lab, to learn about PEARL scientist Richard Lacouture’s ongoing plankton identification work and how this research contributes to understanding harmful algal blooms (HAB) in the Chesapeake Bay. The tour’s final stop was PEARL’s Oyster Hatchery, where the Senator learned about PEARL researcher Dr. Ming Liu’s exciting oyster genetics research efforts.
The visit also consisted of a 25-minute roundtable discussion with the Senator, PEARL Director Scott Knoche, Ph.D., Morgan’s Vice President of Research and Economic Development (D-RED) Willie May, Ph.D., and PEARL staff to further examine PEARL’s research efforts on aquaculture, genetics, Chesapeake Bay ecology, and environmental economics. Following the roundtable, the day concluded with a brief tour of St. Leonard’s Creek and the Patuxent River aboard a PEARL research vessel.
“Visiting Morgan State’s Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory was a great opportunity to see first hand the important work they are doing. From educating local students to providing crucial research on oyster cultivation and the health of Maryland’s waterways, PEARL serves as a vital resource for our state and our environment,” said Senator Van Hollen. “In the Senate, I will continue working to provide support and funding to Morgan State University and environmental research efforts.”
“The PEARL staff and I were thrilled to have the Senator visit our laboratory to see the important work that we are doing firsthand,” said Dr. Knoche. “The Senator’s curiosity and eagerness to understand our research and its practical applications were evident and it fostered a robust and vibrant discussion.”
PEARL, part of Morgan’s Division of Research and Economic Development (D-RED), is located near the Patuxent River in Saint Leonard, Md. The mission of PEARL is to provide society with the knowledge to solve its environmental challenges through research, education, and economic development.