The Marine-Estuarine-Environmental Science (MEES) Program is an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, and system-wide graduate program. The title of the program emphasizes its strengths in marine and estuarine sciences, although the program spans environmental science as a whole, irrespective of habitat. The interests of students in the program are diverse, but generally center on some aspect of the interaction between biological, physical and/or chemical systems in the environment. Research activities range from studies of molecular mechanisms to fisheries ecology, chemical pollutants, or economics of environmental impact.
Degree Earned: Master's, Doctorate
Programs of Study
Ecology is a broad discipline encompassing terrestrial, aquatic, estuarine and marine environments. Specific areas of study include behavioral, community, evolutionary, marine, benthic, limnological, systematic, and physiological ecology. Students successfully completing this Area of Specialization could go on to academic appointments in a variety of departments (e.g., Environmental Sciences, Ecology, Biology, Zoology, Botany, etc.), or work for environmental consulting companies, as well as federal or state government agencies.
The objective of the Environmental Chemistry Area of Specialization (AOS) is to train scientists to apply basic chemical principles to the study of the environmental behaviors of natural and anthropogenic chemicals. Students graduating from MEES through this AOS will find professional positions in Federal,state, and local government agencies (such as EPA, FDA, NIH), private chemical and manufacturing industries, academic institutions, and consulting firms.
Molecular approaches pervade every biological discipline, and each MEES campus boasts distinguished, energetic faculty that emphasize molecular mechanisms of ecological interactions and dynamics. Expertise includes molecular microbial ecology and physiology; bioremediation; molecular endocrinology of fish growth, development and reproduction; environmental stressors contributing to fish physiological dysfunction and oncogenesis; mechanisms and stressors of nitrogen fixation; molecular models of marine surface colonization; molecular cues of organism-organism interaction; and invertebrate immunity.
This Area of Specialization provides broad training in the environmental sciences. It is clear that some students do not want to specialize to the extent the other Areas of Specialization require, but would like to gain experience and take courses in a variety of scientific, economic, and social disciplines related to the environment. These requirements are also very appropriate for students wishing to specialize in environmental management.
Fisheries Science is multidisciplinary, drawing expertise from the biological, physical, and social sciences. Fisheries scientists study populations and communities of aquatic resources, their responses to exploitation, and changes in environmental conditions, and their management. Graduates may expect to find challenging career opportunities. Most career opportunities in fisheries science are in the government and academic sectors, although in recent years private businesses, research firms and aquaculture businesses offer increasingly diverse career choices.
In the past decade, the University System of Maryland has emerged as a nationally and internationally recognized center for oceanographic research. Expertise in oceanography in the University System of Maryland lies in the sub-fields of Biological and Physical Oceanography and cross-disciplinary studies of marine biogeochemistry. The expertise in biological oceanography includes water column nutrient cycling and trophic dynamics (comprising the entire pelagic food web and fishes), benthic ecology, and theoretical ecosystem analysis.