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

2019 Seminars

May 16, 2019

Banding, Telemetry and DNA Studies of Fall Migrant Soras on the Patuxent River at Jug Bay Natural Area, 2017-2018

Greg Kearns
Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission

In 1987 Greg Kearns collaborated with the U.S. Geological Survey to pioneer better trapping techniques, digital sound lures and radio telemetry to study sora rail migration and stopover use of Patuxent River wetlands. In 1998, 1,300 rails were banded. Two years later, 100 birds were banded. Greg and colleagues found that growing numbers of resident Canada geese were likely causing wild rice declines in the area. This discovery led to an ambitious restoration effort, involving participation from landowners and the installation of miles of fencing to keep resident geese out of wild rice plots. This work, along with managed hunting, has allowed for a dramatic recovery of wild rice in the Jug Bay wetlands.

Now, over 20 years later, Grants from the Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust, along with private and government support, have Greg and his team trapping and banding sora rails once more. The team is also fitting rails with transmitters that connect to a vast network of automated tracking stations throughout eastern North America. In this MANTA noon seminar, Greg will share insight on his past research and reveal new discoveries from his current work.

March 21, 2019

Hydrologic monitoring for research and management: do we really need it?

Keith N. Eshleman
Appalachian Laboratory, UMCES, Frostburg, MD

Monitoring data can: a) play a critical role in the scientific process by producing novel observations (sometimes serendipitously) that could support or refute a particular theory; or b) serve as a “gold standard” for evaluating our level of understanding of a particular system or determining the effectiveness of a particular management action. Dr. Eshleman will provide two examples from his recent hydrologic monitoring experience that demonstrate how effective monitoring data can contribute to addressing two current environmental issues— nonpoint source pollution and urban stormwater runoff.

February 21, 2019

Effects of a Stream Restoration on Water Quality and Fluxes of Nutrients and Suspended Solids

Tom Jordan
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

The need to reduce inputs of nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended solids to Chesapeake Bay has motivated restoration of eroded streams in the Bay’s watershed. We compared mass balances of nutrients and suspended solids in a stream reach before and after it was restored by filling the deeply eroded channel with a layer of gravel topped with a sand and woodchip mixture. After restoration 45-50% of the phosphate, total phosphorus, ammonium, and total nitrogen entering the restored reach was retained.

The restoration also affected the hydraulic gradients and chemical composition of groundwater in the stream bed and adjacent floodplain. Before restoration, the water table sloped toward the deeply incised channel, suggesting that groundwater was emerging into the channel. This pattern was reversed after restoration and concentrations of dissolved phosphate and ammonium in groundwater decreased while concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), oxygen, and iron increased.

After the restoration, iron oxidizing bacteria spread over the stream bed in some sections of the restored reach and the concentration of dissolved oxygen in surface water leaving the reach dropped to <1 mg/L while the concentration entering was about 8 mg/L. The oxygen depletion of the surface water may have been due to release of dissolved iron and DOC from groundwater followed by oxidation of the iron and respiration of the DOC by bacteria. The highest DOC concentrations in groundwater were under the stream bed, suggesting that the woodchips in the channel fill were the DOC source.