Scope of Presentation
Fossil pollen, macrophytes, and diatoms, along with dated sediment cores collected from the Chesapeake Bay, are used to study the history of the estuary. Change in the estuarine system from benthic (bottom-dwelling) to pelagic (open water) as the result of the transformation of the watershed from forest to agricultural fields beginning with European colonization. Large organisms that contributed to a highly productive economy, such as the oyster, shad, and striped bass have been replaced by smaller organisms with shorter life cycles such as microorganisms, small unicellular algae, and protozoa.
Grace Brush is a paleoecologist and Professor of Ecology in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University. She is also a Director of a National Science Foundation IGERT grant on water, climate, and health. She received the Mathias Medal for her work on the Chesapeake. Grace also is a recipient of the Odum Award for lifetime achievement from the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation and is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America.