Joel Moore

Assistant Professor, Geosciences;  Jess & Mildred Fisher Endowed Chair of Geological Sciences

Prof. Moore and students testing at stream
Prof. Joel Moore (center) and two of his students, an environmental science master's student and geology undergraduate student, collect a water sample for geochemistry analysis. The analysis will include testing the road salt content.

If you live in or near Baltimore, you’ve probably noticed that salt trucks hit the streets at the mere hint of a snowflake.

Those rocky crystals help us stay safe behind the wheel in slippery conditions, but they also have unintended consequences.

According to Joel Moore, who researches the effects of road salt on stream and ground water chemistry, that same salt gets carried by storm run-off into area reservoirs, significantly increasing the sodium levels in our drinking water, and also has detrimental effects on organisms living in urban and suburban streams.

Moore, who teaches geology courses at Towson University, helps prepare budding environmental scientists by infusing this sort of research into his classes. He is currently serving as the Jess & Mildred Fisher Endowed Chair of Geological Sciences through 2016 and is also research adviser to students in environmental science and geology.  

“Being active in research helps me give students up-to-date information,” says Moore, “and since I do a lot of local research, I can relate it to things that they’ve seen or have the opportunity to go out and see.”

Conducting research for themselves is one of the best ways for students to prepare for careers and graduate school, says the assistant professor, who takes classes to visit field sites, features hands-on research projects in his upper-level courses, and offers individual research opportunities for students in the field and in his TU lab.

Many go on to their own careers as researchers or pursue work in government agencies, non-profits and the environmental consulting industry.