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Kevin Sellner


Kevin Sellner

Senior Scholar

Tel: 301-696-3540
Office: Hodson Science & Technology Center
Office Hours: By Appointment



  • Ph.D., Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S., Canada
  • M.S., Baruch Institute of Marine Science, University of South Carolina
  • B.S., Clark University, Worcester, MA


Kevin has recently joined the CCWS as a Senior Scholar, expanding the Center’s involvement in regional water quality and harmful algal blooms. He arrived following retirement from his position as Executive Director of the Chesapeake Research Consortium where he sought to encourage multi-institution, multi-discipline research for the 6 member institutions as well as act as the liaison between the science and management communities to embed the most recent scientific results into regional science-based management of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. He also directed the interagency ECOHAB Program in NOAA from 1997-2001 (responsible for more than $50 M in extramural support), assisted in drafting national harmful algae reports and recommendations, mentored students in the UMD GEMSTONE Program for 3 years (Outstanding Team and Mentor in 2011), taught within the UMD-MEES Program since 2000, and was an active plankton ecologist within the Chesapeake Bay for the Academy of Natural Sciences Estuarine Research Laboratory from 1978 until 1997.

Research and Interests

Kevin’s focus area is harmful algae and cyanobacteria, most recently toxic cyanobacteria in fresh and tidal-fresh areas of the Chesapeake and its tributaries, lakes, ponds, and rivers. In the past, he has studied dinoflagellate and cyanobacteria blooms off Peru, in the Baltic, and most often Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Just prior to his arrival at Hood, Kevin and colleagues used barley straw (Hordeum vulgare) and lake flushing to severely reduce summer blooms of Microcystis aeruginosa in Lake Williston, near Denton, MD, permitting routine use of the lake for a recreational camp and establishing a practical, inexpensive method for limiting blooms of this toxic species. In CCWS, he and Drew have set up a multi-institution monitoring program in Lake Linganore with county, city, the Lake Linganore Association, and the CCWS monitoring water quality and toxin-producing winter Planktothrix and summer Microcystis populations. He has also initiated a benthic nutrient flux study for the lake, with data from both projects to aid MD’s Department of the Environment and Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences in developing a 3-D biophysical model for lakes throughout the state. Kevin has also partnered with MD’s Department of Natural Resources Inland Fisheries Division to characterize toxic benthic cyanobacteria populations in the upper Potomac River, a potential threat to fish stocks and drinking water supplies through production of microcystin, a hepatotoxin and potential endocrine disruptor. His main goal is to assist regional staffs in mitigating these increasingly problematic taxa through direct involvement of college and high school students in applied research projects.
Kevin also serves on the Frederick County Sustainability Commission and recently, the county’s Energy and Environment Workgroup preparing the county’s Comprehensive Plan.


  • Sellner, K.G. and J. Rensel. (in prep.). A review of prevention, control, and mitigation options for harmful algal blooms. In: S. Shumway (ed.), Harmful algal blooms: A compendium desk reference. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Anderson, C.R., K.G. Sellner, and D.M. Anderson. (in press). Bloom prevention and control. In: D. Anderson, S. Boerlage, and M. Dixon (eds.), Harmful algal blooms (HABs) and desalination guidance manual. UNESCO.
  • Karlson, B., C.R. Anderson, K.J. Coyne, R. Kudela, K.G. Sellner, and D.M. Anderson. (in press). Designing an observing system for early detection of harmful algal blooms. In: D. Anderson, S. Boerlage, and M. Dixon (eds.), Harmful algal blooms (HABs) and desalination guidance manual. UNESCO.
  • VanDolah, E., M. Paolisso, K.G. Sellner, and A.R. Place. 2015. Employing a socio-ecological systems approach to engage harmful algal bloom stakeholders. Aquatic Ecol. : 1-18. DOI
  • Sellner, K.G., A. Place, E. Williams, Y. Gao, E. VanDolah, M. Paolisso, H. Bowers, and S. Roche. 2015. Hydraulics and barley straw (Hordeum vulgare) as effective treatment options for a cyanotoxin-impacted lake. Pages 218-221 in: L. MacKenzie (ed.), Proceedings of the 16th Intl. Conf. on Harmful Algae, Wellington, NZ.
  • Harding, L.W., Jr., J.E. Adolf, M.E. Mallonee, W.D. Miller, C.L. Gallegos, E.S. Perry, J.M. Johnson, K.G. Sellner, and H.W. Paerl. 2015. Climate effects on phytoplankton floral composition in Chesapeake Bay. Est. Coastal Shelf Sci. 162: 53-68.