University of Delaware
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Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

Shipping pollution: Emissions from shipping making ocean more acidic, researchers report
05/16/2013 -

Shipping pollution along major trade lanes can rival carbon emissions in contributing to the increased acidity of the ocean, according to a new study by an international team, including researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Delaware and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies. The research is the first global analysis that shows that acidification from shipping can during the summer months equal that from carbon dioxide. 

Ecology woods: UD doctoral candidate conducts wood thrush studies around Newark
05/09/2013 -

The University of Delaware’s Zach Ladin has been studying the wood thrush for the past three years -- continuing research started by Roland Roth 37 years ago and continued by Greg Shriver, associate professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, in his Forest Fragments in Managed Ecosystems (FRAME) program – and is looking at how breeding birds can provide clues to the relative health of the environment.

Recycled sculpture:  Garden sculpture combines art and environmental awareness
05/04/2013 -

Art in the Garden, the annual outdoor sculpture exhibition sponsored by the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens (UDBG), provides sculpture students an opportunity to showcase their creative work in an outdoor setting.

This year, Christine Stallone, a senior fine arts major, will be showcasing a sculpture titled Piled High in support of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) Student Programs Committee’s bottled water awareness campaign. 

During the 2012 spring semester, the Student Programs Committee (SPC) launched the campaign, which is designed to help UD students become more informed consumers and to shed light on the unsustainable environmental, economic and health consequences of buying and drinking bottled water. 

Sturgeon search: Scientists use satellites, underwater robot to study Atlantic sturgeon migrations
05/03/2013 -

More than a century ago, an estimated 180,000 female Atlantic sturgeon arrived from the coast in the spring to spawn in the Delaware River and fishermen sought their caviar as a lucrative export to Europe. Overfishing contributed to steep population declines, however, and today numbers have dwindled to fewer than 300 adults.

Technology milestone reached: Electric vehicles at UD earn revenue from power grid
05/03/2013 -

Daring to be first, the University of Delaware, through its project with NRG Energy Inc., has proven for the first time that all-electric vehicles can give and take power from an electric power grid and get paid for the service. Located on UD’s STAR Campus, the 15 vehicles officially connected with the grid in February. Since then, they have operated as a mini power plant, giving and taking electricity on demand.

Reducing arsenic in food chain:  Soil may harbor answer to reducing arsenic in rice
05/02/2013 -

Harsh Bais and Janine Sherrier of the University of Delaware’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences are studying whether a naturally occurring soil bacterium, referred to as UD1023 because it was first characterized at the University, can create an iron barrier in rice roots that reduces arsenic uptake.

Rice, grown as a staple food for a large portion of the world’s population, absorbs arsenic from the environment and transfers it to the grain. Arsenic is classified as a poison by the National Institutes of Health and is considered a carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program.

Long-term exposure to arsenic has been associated with skin, lung, bladder, liver, kidney and prostate cancers, and low levels can cause skin lesions, diarrhea and other symptoms. 

05/01/2013 -

In 2008, DuPont’s William F. Bailey was charged with leading an energy efficiency initiative for the company’s worldwide operations, which has reduced energy consumption by 20 percent and has saved the company more than $230 million. Bailey, a DuPont Engineering Fellow, and several other DuPont employees will be on the University of Delaware campus Thursday, May 2, to talk about DuPont sustainability efforts.

04/30/2013 -

A hard-to-remove toxic chemical that surfaced in a deep new Artesian Water Co. well south of New Castle has heated up debate over financial responsibility for fouled public water supplies and the effectiveness of a more-than-30-year Superfund cleanup effort. State and federal officials say they are confident the high levels of the likely carcinogen 1,4 dioxane, found in an Artesian well under Llangollen Estates, escaped from the Delaware Sand & Gravel Landfill federal Superfund site, nearly a mile to the north off Grantham Lane. Artesian shut down the well before it went into regular use, but officials acknowledged Monday that lower levels of the same chemical were detected last year in other wells that are part of the utility’s large regional supply complex around Llangollen Boulevard.

Environmental humanities:  New minor brings together science, humanities to study complex issues
04/30/2013 -

A new undergraduate minor will use tools and insights from the humanities to extend and strengthen the University of Delaware's longstanding expertise in exploring environmental issues through the natural sciences, engineering and public policy.

The interdisciplinary minor in environmental humanities received final approval from the University's Faculty Senate at its March meeting. 

"There's been an explosion of interest in environmental issues in various areas of the humanities," said Adam Rome, associate professor of history and one of the creators and faculty advisers for the minor. "The humanities have a perspective that's useful for seeing the forest, not just the trees, and looking at these scientific problems from a humanities perspective gives new insights."

04/23/2013 -

Scientists have uncovered one of nature's long-kept secrets--the true fate of charcoal in the world's soils. The ability to determine the fate of charcoal is critical to knowledge of the global carbon budget, which in turn can help understand and mitigate climate change. However, until now, researchers only had scientific guesses about what happens to charcoal once it's incorporated into soil. They believed it stayed there. Surprisingly, most of these researchers were wrong.