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October 8, 2004

History of Nutrient Overloading in Chesapeake Bay Topic of Next Distinguished Scientist Seminar at MBL's Ecosystems Center

WOODS HOLE, MA - Walter Boynton, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, will present the next lecture in the 2004 Distinguished Scientist Seminar Series, sponsored by the Marine Biological Laboratory's (MBL's) Ecosystems Center. Boynton, who has been involved in crafting solutions to nutrient loading and other pollution problems for the Chesapeake Bay system, one of the largest estuarine ecosystems in North America, will present the lecture titled “Eutrophication History of Chesapeake Bay.”  The lecture will be held on Friday, October 15 at 3:00 pm in the Whitman Auditorium, MBL Street, Woods Hole.  The public is invited to attend.

The Distinguished Scientist Seminar Series is part of the Ecosystem Center's Semester in Environmental Science program. For the last eight years, undergraduate students from around the country have come to the MBL during the fall semester to study environmental science with some of the world's experts on the subject.  The goal of the Distinguished Scientist Seminar Series is to give students in the program an opportunity to meet and interact with some of the best practitioners of environmental science in the world.

Boynton's research examines factors controlling primary productivity—the rate of new plant biomass formation—and nutrient over-enrichment in coastal ecosystems.  In addition to advancing our understanding the consequences of nitrogen and phosphorus loading to estuaries, his research has revealed the importance of benthic-pelagic coupling —the exchange of energy and materials between water column and sediments—to nutrient processing and recycling in estuarine ecosystems.

Since 1992 Boynton has also been a fellow at the Maryland International Institute for Ecological Economics.  He received his B.A. in Biology from Springfield College, his M.S. at the University of North Carolina, and Ph.D., studying under the renowned H.T. Odum, at the University of Florida. From 1983 to 2001, Boynton participated in development of Chesapeake Bay Monitoring Program.   He has also served on the Maryland Governor's Oil Spill Prevention Advisory Commission.  Since 1986 Boynton has served as a member of the Calvert County Zoning Board.  In 2000, he was awarded the University of Maryland President's Award for Excellence in Applied Science.

The remaining lectures in the Semester in Environmental Science 2004 Distinguished Scientist Seminar Series include:

October 29, 2004 – 3:00 PM, Lillie Auditorium
Alan Covich, Director, University of Georgia
“Biodiversity and the Role of Benthic Invertebrates in Organic Matter Processing within Stream Ecosystems”

November 5, 2004 – 3:00 PM, Lillie Auditorium
Jon Foley, University of Wisconsin
“Global Land Use Practices are Undermining Ecosystem Services and Human Health”

November 19, 2004 – 3:00 PM, Lillie Auditorium
Pamela Matson, Stanford University
“Agricultural Intensification in the Yaqui Valley, Mexico: Does it ‘Save Land for Nature?’”


The Marine Biological Laboratory is an independent scientific institution, founded in 1888, dedicated to improving the human condition through basic research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. The MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the western hemisphere. The research of the MBL's Ecosystems Center, which was established at the MBL in 1975, is focused on the study of natural ecosystems.  Among the key environmental issues being addressed are: the ecological consequences of global climate change; tropical deforestation and its effects on greenhouse gas fluxes; nitrogen saturation of mid-latitude forests; effects of acid rain on North American lakes; and pollution and habitat destruction in coastal ecosystems of the United States.