Erve Chambers, Co-Principal Investigator
Shawn Maloney, Research Coordinator
the summer of 1997, blooms of the dinoflagellate Pfiesteria piscicida
in three tributaries along the lower Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake
Bay were associated with fish kills and possible human health problems.
The Pfiesteria blooms resulted in great scientific and public
interest in the possible ecological and human health effects.
In an effort to complement ecological and health research on Pfiesteria,
members of the Resource Management and Cultural Processes track initiated
a study of the cultural understanding that stakeholders were using
to understand and respond to the risks posed by this dinoflagellate.
This question was particularly important since there was such a strong
media and public response to the possible health and ecological risks
of Pfiesteria, which reached such a high level that popular
media in the region referred to the response as “hysteria about Pfiesteria.”
The research completed under this project identified key cultural
beliefs and values that farmers, environmentalists, watermen and scientists
draw upon to frame their personal and professional understanding of
the causes and consequences of Pfiesteria.
for this project was provided by the College of Behavioral and Social
Sciences, University of Maryland, and the National Science Foundation.