SAVE THE DATE:  This year the MEES Colloquium will be held on October 7- 8, 2016 at the University of Maryland, College Park.  Be sure to mark your calendars!

MEES Colloquium 2013


Every year the MEES Program holds an annual Colloquium.  This colloquium is designed to promote interaction among the different students and faculty members of the program regardless of their site location.  Third and fifth year students are also give the opportunity to present their current research to their peers and faculty mentors.  

This year the MEES Colloquium was held at the UMCES Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, Maryland.  Over 150 people attended the event, which spanned a weekend in September. Students were able to camp out and spend the night together on the Horn Point campus and even hosted a bonfire at night.   

Every year, the MEES Faculty members "judge" students posters and this year faculty members selected Ryan Powell as their Poster Winner for "Best Poster".  Below is his abstract for the poster that he presented.  


Ryan J. Powell and Russell T. Hill

Environmental Molecular Biology/Biotechnology

Institue of Marine and Environmental Technology, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Algal derived biofuels are one of the best alternatives for economically replacing liquid fossil fuels with a fungible renewable energy course.  One hurdle that must be overcome before algal biofuels can be used at scale is finding a way to efficiently harvest and concentrate the algae.  We are investigating the roles of bacteria associated with microalgae that are potential biofuel producers, including Nannochloropssis sp. IMET1.  We isolated a novel, fast growing bacterium that when added to Nannochloropsis  sp. IMET1 rapidly aggregates the algae into large flocs which settle and can easily be separated from the culture media.  The bacterium was identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing as a Bacillus  sp. , designated as strain RP1137.  The flocculation process occurs in as little as 15 seconds and requires one bacterial cell for every give algal cells aggregated.  This bacterium aggregates several diverse freshwater and marine photosynthetic organisms  including Tetraselmis  species and a marine diatom within the Chaetoceros  genus suggesting the strain may be useful for harvesting many different types of algae.  The mechanism of aggregating is pH dependent and reversible.  It does not require live cells, suggesting the cell is dependent on divalent cations, specifically calcium and magnesium which cause charge neutralization of the bacteria by binding to negative teichoic acid residues in the cell wall.  Once neutralized the algal and bacterial cells likely bind via hydrophobic interactions.  The aggregation process has proved scalable up to 20L, with a 1500 L test planned.  Together the properties of this bacterial aggregation my be valuable in developing an efficient, low energy method of harvesting microalage from large culture volumes.   

Also, this year the Colloquium hosted a Film Festival in which students could their work.  

Congratulations to Cassie Grubisz was selected for both the People's Choice and Judge's Choice Award.  Here is her video!


Also, we had two other students submit their work for the Film Festival, John Gardner and Alex Fisher.  Here are their videos!