delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

07/25/2014 -

They rank among the cleanest in the nation: miles of Atlantic Ocean surf at the edge of Delaware beaches that double as resort playgrounds and crowded mainstays for the state's economy.

Yet, this weekend holiday arrives at a pivotal moment as state and local officials look for a new place to daily send up to 3.4 million gallons of treated sewage now pumped from Rehoboth Beach into a canal just off the polluted inland bays.

After years of studies, court battles and debates, the leading option simply calls for pumping the waste about a mile into the ocean off of the north end of Rehoboth Beach, via a $30 million outfall pipe.

07/25/2014 -

May was Earth’s hottest month on record — and as the planet gets warmer, chickens are struggling to adapt. Their body temperatures rise, which leads to higher mortality rates and an increased risk of disease that may threaten global poultry supply in the next decades.

Enter geneticist Carl Schmidt and his team from the University of Delaware, who believe that reducing a chicken’s feather count — making it look bald, basically — will cool it down and reduce health risks.

UDaily: Delaware Geological Survey assessing sand availability for beach restoration planning
07/25/2014 -

The Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) is identifying areas where sand is available to restore the state’s dunes and beaches following coastal storms through a new agreement with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

Housed at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, DGS will evaluate the state’s existing geologic and geophysical data to pinpoint sand resources for future needs.

The scientific analysis will help state officials and BOEM assist coastal communities recovering from Hurricane Sandy, restore habitat, increase knowledge of sand resources offshore and contribute to long-term coastal resilience planning. 

07/25/2014 -

To get his landscape ecology students to appreciate the full scope of the complexities of landscapes in the real world and not just through images on their computer screens, the University of Delaware’s Jeff Buler ended the year on a high note, taking his students up in a hot air balloon.

The trip was partially an homage to the Frenchman Felix Tournachon, also known as Nadar, who took the first aerial photograph from a hot air balloon in 1858 that helped inspire the field of landscape ecology. 

07/23/2014 -

Three wetlands, Bombay Hook, Mispillion Harbor and the marshes near Little Creek, will be part of a $102.7 million federal initiative to build storm and sea-level-rise resilience by using green infrastructure – such as beaches and wetlands – to minimize the impact of flooding, coastal destruction and storm surge.

07/22/2014 -

The bay's iconic blue crab population has dropped to levels not seen since before restrictions were placed on the fishery more than five years ago. What's to blame?

UDaily: Presentation to consider challenges of predicting motion in the ocean
07/22/2014 -

The motion of the ocean creates a challenge for those who need to track oil spills, find downed aircraft, and locate other objects in the deep blue.

In fact, four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, scientists continue to study the effects of that disaster to learn about the impact on the Gulf of Mexico, and gather data to improve spill detection, mitigation and clean-up in the event of another oil spill.

A Science Café presentation, “Oil Spills, Airplanes, and Rubber Duckies: The Challenges of Predicting Motion in the Ocean,” will be held on Monday, July 28, from 5:30-7 p.m., at the Deer Park Tavern, 108 West Main Street, Newark.

UDaily: UD terminates Data Centers project for STAR Campus
07/22/2014 -

The University of Delaware announced today it has terminated its lease agreement with The Data Centers, LLC (TDC), putting a halt to TDC’s plans to develop a data center on the University’s Science, Technology & Advanced Research (STAR) Campus. Following analysis of TDC’s plans, the UD Working Group concluded that the proposed facility, which included a 279-megawatt cogeneration power plant, is not consistent with a first class science and technology campus and high quality development to which UD is committed. The findings are detailed in the Group’s report. View the report PDF on UD’s website.

UDaily: Summer scholars - Two Florida A&M University undergraduates conduct summer research at UD
07/20/2014 -

Two students from Florida A&M University are spending their summer doing research at the University of Delaware. 

Quincy Hardy and Prian Esquivel, undergraduates going into their senior year in Florida A&M’s College of Agriculture and Food Science, are at UD at the invitation of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) and are participants in the Delaware EPSCoR Summer Scholars program.

The exchange started with a professional relationship between Donald L. Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair in Soil and Environmental Chemistry and director of DENIN, and longtime colleague Robert Taylor, dean of the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences at Florida A&M. 

UDaily: Corals and climate  - For corals adjusting to climate change, it's survival of fattest and most flexible
07/10/2014 -

The future health of the world’s coral reefs and the animals that depend on them relies in part on the ability of one tiny symbiotic sea creature to get fat — and to be flexible about the type of algae with which it cooperates.

In the first study of its kind, scientists at the University of Delaware and Ohio State University discovered that corals — tiny reef-forming animals that live symbiotically with algae — are better able to recover from yearly bouts of heat stress, called “bleaching,” when they keep large energy reserves — mostly as fat — socked away in their cells.