MANTA Noon Seminars

A person giving a lecture in a room of people. The Seminar sessions include a variety of topics, including conservation ecology from local to worldwide scales. Attend one of these presentations and enjoy a trip to the ends of the world, an education on the local stream conditions, or get a preview of the newest installation at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Below is the agenda for upcoming sessions and short summaries of each.

All Seminars take place at:

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
C-1 Conference Room (unless noted otherwise)
Tawes Office Building
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland




2017 Seminars

February 16, 2017

Sustainable Agriculture’s Role in Saving the Bay

Rob Schnabel
Watershed Restoration Scientist/ Chesapeake Streams Manager
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Agriculture is 40% of the pollution loading to the Chesapeake Bay. Over 550,000 acres of farmland in Maryland (over 25% of Maryland’s total farmland) is owned by 69 years old and older farmers. Will these lands be developed resulting in additional stormwater runoff, habitat degradation and costly water quality controls? Will these lands be added to larger and larger conventional farms dependent on taxpayer annual cost share programs to address water quality concerns? Or will these lands be passed to the next generation and farmed sustainably, improving soil health, water quality and a farmers’ bottom line. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and partners are working to help the next generation get on the farm and farm these lands in a sustainable manner for both water quality and economics. As the local food culture continues to grow, every citizen will play a role in the outcome by voting with their folk. Rob Schnabel is the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s restoration scientist in Maryland and leads their farm stewardship program. Through leading the Maryland Grazers Network and Chesapeake Buy Fresh Buy Local, and partnering with Future Harvest CASA there is a solution to this problem. Come learn about how this network is helping to facilitate this process. Most importantly, come learn what your role can be in determining the outcome as it relates to water quality, climate change, and human health as it pertains to the future of agriculture in Maryland. Conservationists and Foodies encouraged to attend.

March 16, 2017

Student Water Quality Monitoring and Curricular Connections in Baltimore County

Joe Davis
Resource Teacher/Naturalist
Baltimore County Public Schools

Baltimore County has developed curriculum which will involve over 9000 grade 9 students in long term water quality monitoring. This will be part of a broader effort to connect students with local water quality issues while building critical academic skills and knowledge. Ultimately, students will work with partners to analyze the results of on-going fieldwork and to develop feasible strategies to improve water quality in local tributaries and the Chesapeake Bay.

April 20, 2017

Chesapeake Bay Benthic Monitoring Program
Innovations and Accomplishments

Roberto Llanso
Versar, Inc.

Over the past 20 years, the Maryland and Virginia Benthic Monitoring Programs have pioneered many important developments and techniques for understanding the Chesapeake Bay and estuarine environments in general. After a period of initial research into ways in which benthic communities could be used to measure and monitor environmental conditions in the Bay, the Program developed a benthic index of biotic integrity (B-IBI). The B-IBI was subsequently tested and verified and then applied to critical assessment issues, including relations between benthic community condition and water quality, sediment quality, and watershed stressors. More recently, advanced tools based on the B-IBI have been developed, including better ways of estimating condition and diagnostic tools for classifying regions of the Bay affected by contaminants. The Program has also developed biological criteria based on the B-IBI to assist in the impaired waters assessments required by the Clean Water Act. An overview of the most recent applications of the B-IBI in Chesapeake Bay will conclude the presentation.


May 18, 2017

Part 1 at 12:00 PM
Ocean Frontiers III: Leaders in Ocean Stewardship and the New Blue Economy

Catherine McCall and Kim Hernandez
Chesapeake and Coastal Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Join us for a screening of the documentary film Ocean Frontiers III: Leaders in Ocean Stewardship & the New Blue Economy, which spotlights the United States’ first-ever regional ocean plans in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

​The 55-minute film explores the intersection of national security, maritime commerce, fishing, and recreation, plus expanding industries such as offshore wind energy and aquaculture, coupled with scientific discovery. The film tells the story of how ocean planning helps us manage and balance all the uses of our ocean to keep it thriving for generations to come.

Part 2 at 1:00 PM
Determining Offshore Use by Marine Mammals and Ambient Noise Levels Using Passive Acoustic Monitoring

Helen Bailey
Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

As the focus of renewable energy in the United States turns to offshore wind development, there is an increasing need for an understanding of potential noise impacts from this development on marine mammals. Pile driving of offshore wind turbines produces loud, low-frequency sound that can travel great distances and could potentially harm or disturb marine mammals. As a result, a critical first step is to understand the current baseline ambient-noise levels and the spatiotemporal distribution of marine species that could potentially be impacted. Little is known about the year-round distribution of cetaceans offshore of Maryland.

To address this data gap, acoustic recording devices have been deployed off the coast of Maryland since November 2014 to investigate the occurrence patterns of dolphins, porpoises and four baleen species: fin, humpback, minke and North Atlantic right whales.