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IN THE NEWS

Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

Good rapport: UD marine scientists collaborate with colleagues in France
06/26/2012 -

When marine microbiologist David Kirchman met a French colleague who was on sabbatical at the University of Delaware, their conversations led to nearly a decade of collaborative research. Now the two are fostering similar partnerships among others through an ongoing exchange between their respective institutions. Ocean scientists from UD traveled to southern France last month to meet counterparts at Pierre and Marie Curie University’s Banyuls-Sur-Mer Oceanological Observatory, of which Kirchman’s collaborator, Philippe Lebaron, is the director.

06/25/2012 -

From Cape Hatteras, N.C., to just north of Boston, sea levels are rising much faster than they are around the globe, putting one of the world's most costly coasts in danger of flooding, government researchers report. U.S. Geological Survey scientists call the 600-mile swath a "hot spot" for climbing sea levels caused by global warming. Along the region, the Atlantic Ocean is rising at an annual rate three times to four times faster than the global average since 1990, according to the study published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Tech summit: Conference to focus on solutions for sustainability in energy, life sciences
06/22/2012 -

The inaugural Fraunhofer – Delaware Technology Summit, “Energy and Life Sciences – Solutions for Sustainability,” will be held at the University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall Conference Center on Oct. 29. Experts from science, industry and governmental agencies are encouraged to submit topics in their field.

To submit a paper, send an email with title, author, organization and abstract to Karl Steiner, ksteiner@udel.edu, and Vidadi Yusibov, vyusibov@fraunhofer-cmb.org by July 15Please indicate whether the presentation would contribute to session A, Life Sciences Solutions, or session B, Sustainable Energy Concepts.  Authors will be notified of acceptance by Aug. 15. For more information, visit the website.  A preliminary program will be posted by July 15, and the registration website will be activated by Aug. 1.

Honey bee health: CANR's Delaney has the buzz on UD's new research apiary
06/22/2012 -

Debbie Delaney has two million new best friends. That’s the number of honey bees buzzing about in the recently opened University of Delaware research apiary, which joins an existing 30-colony teaching apiary on the university’s Newark Farm.

Delaney, a UD assistant professor of entomology and wildlife ecology, has been researching honey bees for years but continues to be amazed at their abilities, ranging from the way they precisely maintain colony temperature to their figure-eight dances that tell hive mates where to find patches of flowers and water. She has a hunch that her insect friends have some undisclosed talents, too. For example, in her own backyard beekeeping, she has noticed that hives that swarm and split into separate colonies seem to have fewer mites than hives that don’t split up.

Energy symposium: Institute marshals resources for new technologies and policies
06/22/2012 -

At least eight research centers and institutes on the University of Delaware campus are addressing issues related to energy and sustainability -- from fuel cells, wind and solar power to policy, processes and materials. It’s the job of the UD Energy Institute (UDEI) to support them and help establish beneficial partnerships. On Wednesday, June 6, UDEI held its annual symposium at the Clayton Hall Conference Center to showcase energy-related activities, provide a forum for researchers and students to interact, and raise awareness of the potential for collaboration.

Sustainable lawns: UD researchers hope to curb water pollution from lawns
06/22/2012 -

At first glance, Tim Schofield’s internship duties don’t appear much different from what any landscape worker does. Every week, June through August, this rising junior at the University of Delaware will weed landscape beds, cut back straggly branches and rake up plant debris on a one-acre yard in Applecross, a neighborhood off Route 100 in Greenville.

But Schofield also will catalog the diversity of beneficial insects, birds and other wildlife on the property, document evidence of soil erosion, and keep precise records of the time it takes to complete his tasks. It’s all part of a UD research project to see if replacing the typical suburban yard of mostly grass with one containing diverse vegetation can help protect the environment and make landscapes more sustainable. One of the primary goals of the project is to curb water pollution at its source -- preventing pollution in the first place rather than waiting to treat contaminated water after it enters waterways.

Delaware "Sahara": Tunisian Fulbright Scholar studying beneficial bacteria for legumes
06/22/2012 -

At first glance, it wouldn’t seem like Delaware and the Sahara Desert have a lot in common. However, on closer inspection, the mid-Atlantic state and the arid regions of southern Tunisia in Africa are more similar than they first appear. That is one reason why Mokhtar Rejili, a professor from the University of Gabes in Tunisia, is excited to be at the University of Delaware on a Fulbright Scholarship working with UD's Janine Sherrier on the study of legumes native to his home country.

New York Times: A bird, a crab and a shared fight to survive
06/13/2012 -

Like clockwork, the red knots arrive every spring, descending on the beaches of Delaware Bay to feast for a few weeks on horseshoe crab eggs and, in the process, double their body weight. The knots are delicate, robin-size shorebirds named for their salmon coloration and renowned for their marathon migration — more than 9,000 miles each way, from the southern tip of South America to the Canadian Arctic.

That migration is fueled by an ancient synchronicity — the spawning of billions of tiny green horseshoe crab eggs just as the knots and their prodigious appetites arrive — that is now threatened. Largely because of the overfishing of horseshoe crabs for bait (they are a favorite of conch fishermen), the East Coast red knot population has plummeted. Their numbers have dropped from more than 100,000 in the 1980s to only about 30,000 today, and wildlife biologists in New Jersey worry that without stronger protections, they could vanish. But that depends on the crabs.

Opila wins Fulbright:  Engineering professor to teach renewable energy in Turkey
06/07/2012 -

Robert Opila, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Delaware, has won a 2012-13 Fulbright Scholarship to teach and conduct research at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. While in Ankara, Opila will develop and teach an original course in solid state materials and renewable energy. Broadly, the course will cover the structure of matter, the role of vibrations (thermal energy) and the role of electronic energy in the emerging renewable energy field.

Coast economics: Coast-related economy generates $6.9 billion annually in Delaware
06/06/2012 -

Economic activity along Delaware’s coast generates $6.9 billion annually according to a new report commissioned by the Delaware Sea Grant College Program (DESG). Beach communities and surrounding areas support 59,000 jobs and $711 million in tax revenue, ranking the coast-related economy on par with agriculture among the state’s top industries.