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Culture and Resource Management
 on the Chesapeake Bay

“Culture and Resource Management on the Chesapeake Bay” is a series of linked projects undertaken by faculty, students and staff of the Anthropology Department at the University of Maryland. Our work on the Chesapeake Bay began in the summer of 1998 as a study of the social and cultural dimensions of Pfiesteria piscicida, a dinoflagellate whose bloom was linked to fish kills and human health effects. Since that time, our work has broadened significantly to include:

  • Examination of different groups' knowledge and values regarding the environment and pollution of the Chesapeake Bay
  • Exploration of meanings of heritage and the impacts of tourism in the Bay region
  • Study of gender roles in the crab fishery
  • Collaborative learning workshops with blue crab fishery stakeholders
  • Study of the cultural and socioeconomic consequences of introducing a non-native oyster
  • Examination of nature reserves can integrate community history and needs
  • Investigation of cultural models of land conservation on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Our work involves watermen, natural resource managers, policymakers, farmers, non-governmental conservationists, scientists, and local residents of the Chesapeake Bay region. In all our work, our mission is to bring the concepts and approaches of applied anthropology to the study of the cultural and socioeconomic dimensions of how we use, research and manage the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. We seek to educate and inform the public, professionals who research or manage the Bay, and regional policymakers on the important role of culture to our efforts to enjoy, understand and manage the Chesapeake.


Photos By:  Stacey Hockett Sherlock and Michael Paolisso

Web Design: Mary Winterbottom
Darcie Luce


University of Maryland | Department of Anthropology | 1111 Woods Hall | College Park, MD 20742