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Benjamin Fertig: Fine School of the Sciences Faculty

Benjamin Fertig , Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer, Biology Department and Internship Director, School of Sciences
Biological Sciences | Fine School of the Sciences
Benjamin Fertig
Office Hours
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 3pm-5pm

Tuesdays and Thursdays noon - 2pm

  • Step 1 - Schedule a mutually convenient time using this link:   
  • Step 2 - Meet via this Bluejeans link: 
Office Location
Manning Academic Center S113 Campus Map


  • 2010 Ph.D. Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Science, University of Maryland College Park, MD
  • 2003 B.A. Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

Professional Experience

  • 2021 - Present Senior Lecturer, Biology Department | Internship Director, School of the Sciences, Stevenson University, Owings Mills, MD 
  • 2020-2021 Adjunct Professor, Stevenson University Owings Mills, MD
  • 2015 - Present Research Scholar, Ronin Institute, Montclair, NJ
  • 2018-2020 Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator, Irvine Nature Center, Owings Mills, MD 
  • 2017 - 2018 Principal, Fertig Coastal and Estuarine Sciences, LLC, Baltimore, MD
  • 2016-2017 Program Specialist, Principal Faculty Specialist, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  • 2015 Senior Coastal Scientist, Versar, Inc., Columbia, MD
  • 2015 Abstract Database Manager, Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, Seattle, WA
  • 2013-2014 Assistant Professor, Community College of Baltimore County, Essex, MD
  • 2011-2015 Postdoctoral Associate, Visiting Scientist. Rutgers University, Institute of Marine & Coastal Science, New Brunswick, NJ
  • 2003-2005 Editor, Oceanic/ASFA, Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, Bethesda, MD



  • Increasing diversity, equity and inclusion practices in STEM fields
  • Anthropogenic impacts on coastal and ocean ecosystems
    • Nutrient processing in food webs using isotopic approaches
    • Nitrogen sources and cycling associated with eutrophication and denitrification
  • Ecosystem synthesis and data integration
    • Integrating multiple datasets across domains with spatial and large-scale/long-term observations
    • Assessing and evaluating ecosystem state by developing multivariate indices
  • Application and communication of science
    • Leveraging synthetic knowledge to address management concerns and evaluate progress
    • Communicating science to diverse audiences, including those with non-traditional, under-served and/or under-represented backgrounds


Book Chapters:

  • Kimmel, D.G., Townsend, H., Carruthers, T.J.B., Fertig B. 2010. Environmental Statistics: Balancing simplicity and explanatory power. In: Longstaff, B.J., Carruthers, T.J.B., Dennison, W.C., Lookingbill, T.R., Hawkey, J.M., Thomas, J.E., Wicks, E.C., Woerner, J. (eds.) Integrating and Applying Science: A practical handbook for effective coastal ecosystem assessment. IAN Press, Cambridge, MD, p 113-132.
  • Wicks, E.C., Longstaff, B.J., Fertig, B., Dennison, W.C. 2010. Ecological Indicators: Assessing ecosystem health using metrics. In: Longstaff, B.J., Carruthers, T.J.B., Dennison, W.C., Lookingbill, T.R., Hawkey, J.M., Thomas, J.E., Wicks, E.C., Woerner, J. (eds.) Integrating and Applying Science: A practical handbook for effective coastal ecosystem assessment. IAN Press, Cambridge, MD, p 61-77.
  • Wazniak C.E., Hall M.R., Bailey E.M., Boward D.M., Boynton W.R., Bratton J.F., Carruthers T.J.B., Chalmers R.J., Cole L.W., Cornwell J.C., Fertig B., Gilbert P.M., Jones A.B., Jordan T.E., McCoy J., McGinty M., Shedlock R.J., Sherwell J., Sturgis R.B., Thomas J.E., Trice T.M., Wells D.V. 2009. Water Quality Responses to Nutrients. In: Dennison W.C., Thomas J.E., Cain C.J., Carruthers T.J.B., Hall M.R., Jesien R.V., Wazniak C.E., Wilson D.E. (eds.) Shifting Sands: Environmental and cultural change in Maryland's Coastal bays. IAN Press, Cambridge, MD, p 249-292.

Other Publications

  • Kennish, M.J., Nicholson, R., Fertig, B., Baker, R., Weiben, C., Sakowicz, G.P., Lathrop, R.G. 2013. Assessment of nutrient loading and eutrophication in Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey in support of nutrient management planning. Prepared for New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. 468 pp.
  • Kennish, M.J., Fertig, B.M., Sakowicz, G.P. 2013. In situ surveys of seagrass habitat in the northern segment of the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary: Eutrophication Assessment. Prepared for Barnegat Bay Partnership. 43 pp.
  • Kennish, M.J., Fertig, B., Petruzzelli, G. 2012. Emergent Vegetation: NERR SWMP Tier 2 salt marsh monitoring in the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve. Prepared for National Estuarine Research Reserve System. 28 pp.
  • Fertig, B., Carruthers, T.J.B., Dennison, W.C. 2009. Final Report: Connecting monitoring, long-term, and broad-scale water quality datasets through an estuarine biological indicator of nitrogen source: delta-15N in Crassostrea virginica tissues. Prepared for National Estuarine Research Reserve System. 81 pp.
  • Fertig, B., Carruthers, T.J.B., Dennison, W.C. 2008. Final Report: 2007 Water Quality Monitoring in Monie Bay. Prepared for National Estuarine Research Reserve System. 46 pp.
  • Beckert, K., Fertig, B., O'Neil, J.M., Carruthers, T.J.B., Wazniak, C., Sturgis, B., Hall, M., Jones, A., Dennison, W. C. 2008. Fine scale patterns of water quality in three regions of Maryland's Coastal Bays: assessing nitrogen source in relation to land use. Prepared for Maryland Coastal Bays Program. 50 pp.
  • Fertig, B., Carruthers, T.J.B., Dennison, W.C. 2007. Linking Monie Bay watershed land use to nitrogen stable isotopes in tissues of the native eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Prepared for National Estuarine Research Reserve System. 76 pp.
  • Fertig, B., Carruthers, T.J.B.  Wazniak, C., Sturgis, B., Hall, M., Dennison, W.C. 2006. Water quality in four regions of the Maryland Coastal Bays: assessing nitrogen source in relation to rainfall and brown tide. Prepared for Maryland Coastal Bays Program. 49 pp.
  • Fertig, B. August 2004. “Gardening the Oceans Using Iron Fertilizers”. CSA Hot Topic
  • Fertig, B., Foster, T., Nicholas, I. April 2005. “Tsunamis and the International Response: Economic, Social and Environmental Dimensions” CSA Hot Topic 
  • Pederson, J., Fertig, B. 2003. “Ballast Water Exchange in the North Atlantic: A Background Paper for the Ballast Water Management Workshop”, circulated at Ballast Water Workshop in Halifax. MIT Sea Grant College Program publication number 04-5

Journal Articles

  • Harris, L.A., Grayson, T. Neckles, H.A., Emrich, C.T., Lewis, K.A., Grimes, K.W., Williamson, S., Garza, C., Whitcraft, C. R., Beseres Pollack, J., Talley, D.M., Fertig, B., Palinkas, C.M., Park, S., Vaudrey, J.M.P., Fitzgerald, A.M., and Quispe, J. 2021. A socio-ecological imperative for broadening participation in coastal and estuarine research and management. Estuaries and Coasts
  • Gandy, L., Gumm, J., Fertig, B., Thessen, A., Kennish, M.J., Chavan, S., Marchionni, L., Xia, X., Shankrit, S. and Fertig, E.J. 2017 Synthesizer: expediting synthesis studies from context free data with information retrieval techniques. PloS ONE, 12(4):e0175860. DOI: 10.137/journal/pone.e0175860
  • Kennish, M.J., Sakowicz, G.P., Fertig, B. 2016. Recent trends of Zostera marina (eelgrass) in a highly eutrophic coastal lagoon in the Mid-Atlantic region (USA). Open Journal of Ecology. 6:243-253. DOI: 10.423/oje.2016.65025
  • Thessen, A.E., Fertig, B., Jarvis, J.C., Rhodes, A.C. 2015. Data infrastructures for estuarine and coastal ecological syntheses. Estuaries and Coasts. Online First: Nov. 9, 2015.
  • Kennish, M.J., Meixler, M.S., Petruzelli, G., Fertig, B., 2014. Tuckerton Peninsula salt marsh system: A sentinel site for assessing climate change effects. Bulletin of the New Jersey Academy of Science 59(2):1-5.
  • Fertig, B., Carruthers, T.J.B., Dennison, W.C. 2014. Oyster δ15N as a bioindicator of potential wastewater and poultry farming impacts and degraded water quality in a sub-estuary of Chesapeake Bay. Journal of Coastal Research. 30(5):881-892.
  • Fertig, B., Carruthers, T.J.B., Dennison, W.C., Meyer, K., Williams, M.R., 2014. Isotopic values in oysters indicate elemental sources constrained by multiple gradients. Ecological Indicators. 46:101-109.  
  • Lathrop, R.G. Jr., Haag, S., Merchant, D., Kennish, M.J., Fertig, B. 2014. Comparison of remotely sensed surveys vs. in situ plot-based assessments of seagrass conditition in Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor. Journal of Coastal Conservation. 18:299-308. 
  • Fertig, B., Kennish, M.J., Sakowicz, G.P., Reynolds, L.K. 2014. Mind the data gap: Identifying and assessing drivers of changing eutrophication conditions. Estuaries and Coasts, 37 (Suppl.1):S198-S221.
  • Fertig. B., O'Neil, J.M., Beckert, K.A., Cain, C.J., Needham, D.M., Carruthers, T.J.B., Dennison, W.C. 2013. Elucidating terrestrial nutrient sources to a coastal lagoon, Chincoteague Bay, Maryland, USA. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 116:1-10.
  • Kennish, M.J., Fertig, B. 2012. Application and assessment of a nutrient pollution indicator using eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in Barnegat Bay – Little Egg Harbor Estuary, New Jersey. Aquatic Botany. 96:23-30. 
  • Kennish, M.J., Fertig, B., Sakowicz, G.P. 2011. Benthic macroalgal blooms as an indicator of system eutrophy in the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary. Bulletin of the New Jersey Academy pf Sciences. 56:1-5.
  • Fertig, B., Carruthers, T.J.B., Dennison, W.C., Fertig, E.J., Altabet, M.A. 2010. Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) δ15N as a bioindicator of nitrogen sources: observations and modeling. Marine Pollution Bulletin 60:1288-1298.
  • Fertig, B., Carruthers, T.J.B., Dennison, W.C., Jones, A., Pantus, F., Longstaff, B. 2009. Oyster and macroalgae bioindicators detect elevated δ15N in Maryland’s Coastal Bays. Estuaries and Coasts 32:773-786.





  • BIO 113. General Biology I: Cell Biology and Genetics. Lecture.
    • Emphasizes the molecular nature of biology and biological principles that are common to all life. Topics covered relate to the physical and biochemical structure and function of cells and cell processes and genetics.
  • BIO113L. General Biology I Laboratory: Cell Biology and Genetics. Lab.
    • Introduces experimental methods and techniques used in the biology laboratory. Topics relate to cell structure and function, and skills covered include the scientific method and experimental design, microscope, and micropipette use, and aseptic technique.
  • BIO114L. General Biology II Laboratory: Structure and Function or Organisms. Lab.
    • Explores the relationship between structure and function through laboratory activities which include the dissection of plants and animals, and the investigation of basic physiological processes. Students will be introduced to scientific literature databases, and primary and secondary scientific literature, and will continue to refine and expand the laboratory skills taught in BIO 113L. 
  • BIO115. Ecology and Evolution. Lecture.  
    • Emphasizes the evolutionary basis of biological diversity and the ecological interactions of living organisms and biological principles that are common to all life. Topics covered include evolutionary processes, hierarchical relationships and the relatedness of species, population and community ecology and biodiversity and conservation. 
  • ENV285. Geographic Information Systems. Lecture and Lab.  
    • Introduces the concepts and theories behind Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with emphasis on the nature of spatial data and geographic information, geographic data input, manipulation, and storage, simple spatial analysis and modeling techniques, and cartographic layout. Utilizes GIS to visualize, analyze, and interpret spatial data to solve problems. 
  • SVC101. Foundations for Service Learning.
    • Introduces students to service-learning through active engagement in planning, implementing, and evaluating their service experiments. Students will learn research-based approaches to service learning while making connections between and across the curriculum analyzing personal and professional goals, and exploring individual career paths. Students will apply their learning beyond the classroom and creatively address problems facing their communities, the nation, and the world. This course will provide students with the theoretical underpinnings of service-learning and help prepare them for the subsequent discipline-specific service-learning classes.


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Activities

  • 2021-Present: Baltimore Community ToolBank Board, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
  • 2016-Present: Coastal and Estuarine Research Rederation, Rising TIDES program for diversity and inclusion
  • 2020-Present: Volunteer with Standing Up for Racial Justice Baltimore
  • Spring 2021: Stevenson University Center for Diversity and Inclusion Community Read Program: "So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Spring 2021: Stevenson University Center for Diversity and Inclusion Communitydiscussion "In It For the Long Haul: The Battle for Racial Justice"


  • More Than a Shop
    • Pro Bono Consultant (2021-Present)
  • Baltimore Community ToolBank
    • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (2021-Present)
    • Hammers and Ales Committee (2021-Present)
  • Karina Association
    • Job/Career Development Committee (2020-Present)
    • Development and Fundraising Committee (2020-Present)
  • Caostal & Estuarine Research Federation
    • Rising TIDES DEI Committee (2016-Present)
    • Scientific Program Committee (2014-2015)
    • Social Media Committee (2013-2014)
    • Co-Chair Student Activities Committee (2012)
  • Atlantic Estuarine Research Society
    • President 2020-2022
    • President-Elect 2019-2020
    • Chair, Program Committee (2011-2019)
  • Baltimore County Retired Senior Volunteer Program
    • Council Member (2019-Present)
  • Community College of Baltimore County
    • Sustainability Committee (2013-2014)
  • Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (Society Member)
  • Ecological Society of America (Society Member)


  • 2012—2014. Co-PI/Postdoc. $247,497. NJ Sea Grant Consortium
    •   “Evaluating ecological and social impacts of New Jersey legislation regulating fertilizer nitrogen loads to Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary by using isotopic signatures, seagrass demographics, social response, and communications” Objectives: Detect coupling between anthropogenic nitrogen inputs (i.e. lawn fertilizers) from the watershed and seagrass uptake in the estuary and to assess if fertilizer legislation (Bills S-1411 and A-2290 enacted January 2012) improves condition of Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor seagrass beds and ecosystem eutrophication. Additionally, the project is surveying public awareness, attitudes, and behavior change in Ocean County, NJ regarding fertilizer application and recent fertilizer legislation.
  • 2010—2011. Co-PI/Postdoc. $45,000. Maryland Coastal Bays Program
    • “Where does nitrogen in Johnson Bay come from? Relationships between land use, nitrogen cycling, and denitrification.” Objectives: Build upon and extend previous research in Johnson Bay/Chincoteague Bay to elucidate terrestrial sources of nitrogen hot-spots in streams, drainages, and creeks entering Johnson Bay, to identify the types, sources, spatial extent and degree of groundwater nitrogen that are available to Johnson Bay, to quantify the relative contributions of nitrogen from different sources associated with land uses that are transported to Johnson Bay by groundwater, circulation, nutrient suspension from sediment erosion, and atmospheric deposition, and to explain previously observed elevated signatures of d15N in macroalgae and oyster bioindicators deployed in Johnson Bay surface waters. 


  • 2008 National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Graduate Research Fellowship “Connecting monitoring, long-term, and broad-scale water quality datasets through an estuarine biological indicator of nitrogen source” ($29,500)
  • 2007 National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Graduate Research Fellowship “Establishing a link between δ15N in Crassostrea virginica tissues to land use: spatial analysis and modeling approaches” ($29,500)
  • 2006 National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Graduate Research Fellowship “Developing the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, as a biological indicator of nitrogen sources" ($29,500)


  • 2017 Volunteer of the Month (October), Irvine Nature Center
  • 2017 Volunteer of the Year, Irvine Nature Center
  •  2015 Nominated with 5 others by Barnegat Bay Partnership for EPA Region 2 Environmental Quality Award
  •  2014 Funniest Halloween Costume – AERS Fall 2014 meeting (Galloway, NJ) 

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