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

Sandy's underwater sandscapes:  UD researchers studying 'fingerprint' left on seafloor by Hurricane Sandy
11/16/2012 -

Beneath the 20-foot waves that crested off Delaware’s coast during Hurricane Sandy, thrashing waters reshaped the floor of the ocean, churning up fine sand and digging deep ripples into the seabed. Fish, crustaceans and other marine life were blasted with sand as the storm sculpted new surfaces underwater.

UD scientists cued up their instruments to document the offshore conditions before, during and after Sandy’s arrival to scrutinize the differences and better predict the environmental impact of future storms.

“Out here, we’re trying to get the fingerprint of the storm,” said Arthur Trembanis, associate professor of geological sciences and oceanography, aboard the research vessel Hugh R. Sharp.

Green ice:  UD Ice Arenas now using battery-powered Zamboni to resurface ice
11/14/2012 -

The University of Delaware Ice Arenas has gone green with the introduction of a new battery-powered Zamboni to resurface ice.

“With the Initiative for the Planet an important part of UD’s Path to Prominence strategic plan, we were exploring ways to provide a more environmentally sound means to resurface ice,” said James Kaden, assistant director of UD Ice Arenas. “The new Zamboni proved to be a perfect option.”

The new Zamboni 560AC electric ice resurfacer is a technological advancement on the company’s line of battery-operated machines, said Jeffrey Doucette, UD Ice Arenas operations supervisor.

Luther honored:  Marine scientist to receive 2013 Geochemistry Division Medal from ACS
11/13/2012 -

George W. Luther III, Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor of Oceanography at the University of Delaware, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Geochemistry Division Medal from the American Chemical Society (ACS) for his wide-ranging contributions to aqueous geochemistry.

The distinction is the highest honor awarded by the society’s geochemistry division, given every other year to recognize outstanding achievements in the field. Geochemistry examines the chemical reactions behind geological processes occurring in the earth and oceans.

Luther’s accomplishments include applying physical inorganic chemistry to the transfer of electrons between chemical compounds in the environment. He developed chemical sensors and incorporated voltammetry, an analytical method of measuring electrical activity, in quantifying the presence of elements and their chemical compounds in natural waters.

Future of bioenergy:  Delaware Biotechnology Institute partners with DNREC in biofuel project
11/09/2012 -

As part of a five-year, $50,000 grant supporting state greenhouse gas reduction projects, the Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) has partnered with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) in response to the need for 36 billion gallons of petroleum-based fuel to be replaced by biofuels by 2022, according to the Renewable Fuel Standard of 2007.

The Framework for Minimizing Energy Input and Environmental Impact in Delaware grant is a joint effort between DBI and Delaware State University (DSU) to create an education and outreach pipeline, as well as training, for the next generation of scientists and Delawareans as part of a sustainable agriculturally based industrial ecology.

11/06/2012 -

The University of Delaware has established the Revolving Energy Efficiency Fund to support energy efficiency projects across campus. The first project funded by the Energy Efficiency Fund will replace lighting systems with new, energy efficient systems, undertaken by Facilities and Auxiliary Services and contractor Atlantic Energy Concepts.

Hurricane Sandy Q&A: UD experts aid state, National Weather Service during storm
11/06/2012 -

The Office of the State Climatologist and the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS), both based at the University of Delaware, provided the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and the National Weather Service with weather, coastal flooding and stream flooding information for Delaware during Hurricane Sandy. Delaware State Climatologist Daniel Leathers, a professor of geography at UD, and Kelvin Ramsey, a scientist at DGS, answered some questions about this major storm for UDaily. Timothy Targett, professor of marine biosciences, also responds to a question about marine life.

Superstorm animation: UD researchers show Sandy's explosive development
11/06/2012 -

A computer animation produced by University of Delaware researchers shows the explosive development of Hurricane Sandy, the superstorm and its unusual track.

Matt Shatley, computer research specialist in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), assembled the animation by digitally stitching together about 800 infrared images taken by GOES, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, which keeps a continuous eye on the continental United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere. The animation represents the period from Oct. 22 to Oct. 31.

Science on the graveyard shift:  Discovering what gets buried and how
11/01/2012 -

By dark of night in an old graveyard, things rustle. At least if that cemetery is at London Grove Friends Meeting in Kennett Square, Pa.

Look between the oldest markers, or under a gnarled oak tree that's been guarding the graveyard since the time of William Penn in 1682. You'll find not a ghost, but a scientist, probing the dirt for the secrets it might reveal.

"These soils have been undisturbed for centuries, if at all, and they hold the key to understanding how humans have altered the landscape," says geoscientist Anthony Aufdenkampe of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Christina River Basin Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) on the border of Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Atlantic quest:  Oceanographer leading expedition to hydrothermal vents for pyrite research
10/24/2012 -

Last year, University of Delaware scientists made a splash with findings that tiny pieces of pyrite, also known as fool’s gold, from hydrothermal vents travel long distances deep within the Pacific Ocean. Now, they want to know if that is also true in the Atlantic.

College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment researchers are currently at sea — smack in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean — to find out. Led by George W. Luther, III, Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor of Oceanography, the team is investigating elements gushing from the vents and the implications for surrounding environments.

“Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, we’ll have a really good idea of the different kinds of sulfur and iron concentrations coming out of the vents,” Luther said.

News Journal: As state officials debate how to deal with the future of non-resort beach communities, residents utilize different strategies on holding back the sea
10/22/2012 -

The view through Michael Gagliardo’s floor-to-ceiling glass doors is spectacular: Delaware Bay as far as the eye can see, with cargo ships and enormous flocks of migratory birds floating through the scene. Bayshore residents cherish their quiet lifestyles far from the crowded boardwalks that dominate commercial beaches along the East Coast. And property taxes are low – especially when compared with resorts along the Jersey Shore, Long Island or Cape Cod. Annual property tax on a 6,653 square-foot home here, for example, is $3,445.