PEREC is a interdisciplinary collection of scientists at George Mason University. Expertise includes chemistry, ecology, geology, environmental science and education. PEREC faculty participate in a variety of research and community outreach programs. Faculty offices and labs are  housed at the Potomac Science Center in Belmont Bay.

Our Mission

Our mission is to to utilize the tools of scientific research, restoration, education, and policy analysis to help society understand and sustain natural processes in ecosystems, watersheds, and landscapes.

The focus of PEREC is on:

  1. Potomac River & Chesapeake Bay Restoration
  2. Sustaining Natural Ecosystems in Suburban Areas
  3. Impact of Global Climate Change on Management of Aquatic Ecosystems
  4. Community Outreach and Education
  5. Micropollutant sources, fate and risk assessment in the Potomac River watershed

1. Restoration of Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay

  • Important research questions we are exploring include:
    • What are the effects of nutrients on Bay organisms?
    • Greater understanding of tidal freshwater & oligohaline (tidal mix of fresh and saltwater) ecosystems
    • What is the role of wetlands in protecting the Bay?
    • The recovery of Bay communities when stresses are removed
Cindy Smith looking for benthic samples

2. Suburban Sustainability

  • Northern Virginia is one of the most rapidly growing regions of the Country
    • How does this rapid growth impact our ecosystems?
    • What are the growth and development strategies that can lessen that impact and allow us to retain a greater variety of organisms?

3. Global Climate Change and Management of Natural Ecosystems

  • Impacts of climate change on aquatic ecosystems
  • Linkages between climate change, hydrology, and aquatic ecology
  • Using managed landscapes and wetlands to store carbon & carbon credits

4. Community Outreach and Education

  • Public educational programs
  • Community outreach programs

Five Year Report