delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

06/22/2015 -

It came from above, hovering over the corn field, soaking up the light. It saw things the farmers couldn’t: photosynthesis in the green leaves and heat radiating off arid soil. The UAV — unmanned aerial vehicle, commonly called a drone — is what researchers hope will pave the way for the future of agriculture. It’s not from another planet or a war zone, it comes in peace to help solve the major problems farmers face while trying to feed a growing country.

UDaily: Faculty member earns "National Geographic Explorer" designation
06/16/2015 -

Jon Cox, assistant professor of art who was the University of Delaware project manager for a multidisciplinary team that focused on documenting the culture of the indigenous Ese’Eja people of Peru, has been named a “National Geographic Explorer.” The designation recognizes the contributions of a wide-ranging group of researchers and others who have made their marks in exploration and discovery.

UDaily: UD's Kempton to share in $6.5 million in DOE funding to help grid accommodate more renewable energy
06/16/2015 -

The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has announced new funding to address challenges in enabling the nation’s electric grid to handle increasing amounts of renewable energy.

Willett Kempton’s research group at the University of Delaware is one of five new technical teams selected nationwide to share in up to $6.5 million in federal funding. 

UDaily: Microbe mobilizes 'iron shield' to block arsenic uptake in rice
06/16/2015 -

University of Delaware researchers have discovered a soil microbe that mobilizes an “iron shield” to block the uptake of toxic arsenic in rice. 

Arsenic occurs naturally in rocks and soils, air and water, plants and animals. It’s used in a variety of industrial products and practices, from wood preservatives, pesticides and fertilizers, to copper smelting. Chronic exposure to arsenic has been linked to cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

06/15/2015 -

New evidence suggests Delaware Bay may be one of many coastal stopping points for the red knot, a robin-sized shorebird that has made the lower estuary a seasonal tourist destination. But researchers still maintain that Delaware Bay is the critical link in the spring migration and horseshoe crab eggs – the preferred diet along the Delaware Bay – are vital to the health of the population.

News Journal: Arsenic and old rice, keeping the pair apart
06/15/2015 -

Rice is the most widely consumed staple food, accounting for 20 percent of the world’s dietary energy supply.

So recent studies that purport to show high levels of the known human carcinogen arsenic in both domestic and international crops – as well as foods that contain rice – have raised health concerns and even some warnings to avoid the grain altogether.

06/09/2015 -

A rare coalition of environmental groups and public officials has stepped up to pressure the state regarding the Delaware City Refinery’s daily use of 300 million gallons of Delaware River water. New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon, 13 state lawmakers and 32 environmental organizations signed on to letter describing as “inadequate” a proposed Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control permit for the refinery’s water intake and discharges. They’re urging the agency to uphold an earlier recommendation for a cooling tower system that would recycle water and better screen out fish.

06/09/2015 -

NASA has released data showing how temperature and rainfall patterns worldwide may change through the year 2100 because of growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere. The dataset, which is available to the public, shows projected changes worldwide on a regional level in response to different scenarios of increasing carbon dioxide simulated by 21 climate models. The high-resolution data, which can be viewed on a daily timescale at the scale of individual cities and towns, will help scientists and planners conduct climate risk assessments to better understand local and global effects of hazards, such as severe drought, floods, heat waves and losses in agriculture productivity.

UDaily: Paper documents new findings about sand tiger shark habitat and migration
06/04/2015 -

University of Delaware doctoral student Danielle Haulsee is the lead author on a paper reporting the combined use of underwater robotics and acoustic telemetry to understand sand tiger shark habitat and migration in the Delaware coastal ocean. The paper, titled “Habitat Selection of a Coastal Predator from an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle,” appeared in the May 28 issue of in Marine Ecology Progress Series, a top marine ecology journal.

06/04/2015 -

Work to restore the marshes at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge is expected to start June 15, the first phase in a $38 million plan to build storm and sea level rise resiliency on the 10,144-acre federal holding along Delaware Bay. Step one will be to carve out relic drainage channels that historically allowed the marsh to drain. Once drainage is restored, 1.1 million cubic yards of sand will be pumped onto the beach just south of Fowler Beach road to fill openings that formed or were worsened during Superstorm Sandy.