Morgan PEARL mourns passing of Distinguished Researcher, George R. Abbe

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 12, 2013  Bookmark and Share

George R. Abbe, Research Assistant Professor at Morgan State University's Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory (PEARL), who dedicated his life to the environment, passed away Friday, August 2, 2013.

He is survived by his wife Linda L. Abbe; his daughters Sherry L. McCrystal and her husband Steve of London, England and Angie E. McCarthy and her husband Kevin of Burke, Virginia; his sister Judy Thomas; his grandchildren Sean, Kyle, and Brendan McCrystal, Erin and Alison McCarthy.  

George received a B.S. in Biology from Ursinus College in 1965 and a Masters degree in biological sciences from the University of Delaware in 1967. Immediately after graduation he began his career with the Academy of Natural Sciences, and was the first employee at the new Estuarine Research Center on the Patuxent River in Maryland. Mr. Abbe's career spans four decades during which the primary focus of his work has been the advancement of scientific knowledge and management of the Chesapeake Bay crab and oyster populations.   

In 2004, the Academy handed oversight of the Estuarine Research Center (now the PEARL) to Morgan State University, where George served as part of the research faculty and continued his work on oyster and blue crab populations until his retirement in 2009.  

Throughout his career, George has helped address challenges faced by the shellfish industry, such as studying the interactions of environmental conditions and disease prevalence (dermo). George authored more than 150 scientific publications and research reports. His attention to relevant applied issues between the research, management and industry sectors parallels that of National Shellfisheries Association which is rich in cross-fertilization among these different sectors.  

Mr. Abbe is well known within the estuarine research community, not only locally, but also throughout the Atlantic coast and internationally.  He conducted crab population surveys continuously for over 40 years, and these data sets have recently been used in stock assessment and management decisions by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  In addition, Mr. Abbe conducted studies of disease susceptibility and growth rates of various genetically improved native oysters for the DNR, contributed heavily to Maryland's Oyster Recovery Program in the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers, and designed and performed many studies related to the impact of nuclear and fossil fuel power plants on crabs, oysters, clams and other marine life.  He was the author of dozens of esteemed scientific publications and has been an active member of numerous professional associations, including the Estuarine Research Federation, the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society, the National Shellfisheries Association (former President and Honored Life Member), the Technical Work Group of the Maryland-Virginia Bi-State Blue Crab Advisory Committee, and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Maryland Oyster Roundtable.

Parts of George's success and legacy are attributed to his flexibility and adaptability. When the Estuarine Research Center was placed under the institutional lead of Morgan State University in 2004, George adapted by helping to build new programs at the Center.  George has always loved working with students, and this opened up new avenues for teaching the next generation of scientists, with particular emphasis on underrepresented minorities in the area of marine science.   George enjoyed making a difference!  

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie classified Doctoral Research Institution offering more than 70 academic programs leading to bachelors degrees as well as programs at the masters and doctoral levels. As Maryland's Public Urban Research University, Morgan serves a multi-ethnic and multi-racial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information on Morgan State University, visit  

Dr. Victor R. McCrary
VP for Research & Economic Development

Mr. Clinton R. Coleman
Director, Public Relations & Communications