delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

Beach buddies: UD monitoring program helps Delaware achieve highest national ratings
07/12/2011 -

Delaware’s beach waters are among the cleanest in the nation according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). That’s thanks in part to a partnership between the University of Delaware and the state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). The UD Citizen Monitoring Program, run by Delaware Sea Grant and featuring the efforts of trained citizen volunteers, helps DNREC monitor the state’s waterbodies for signs of pollution. The program recently celebrated its 20th year serving the state.

An ultra-bright future:  UD grad students benefit from research at national laboratories
07/12/2011 -

Graduate students in soil and environmental chemistry at the University of Delaware have logged an unusual record of success in gaining access to some of the most advanced scientific equipment in the world at national laboratories around the country.

That access has been a key learning experience and a top selling point when the students graduate and head into the job market, according to Donald Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair of Plant and Soil Sciences and director of the Delaware Environmental Institute.

Sparks has been instrumental in building the soil science program at UD and has served as an adviser to 52 graduate students and 25 postdoctoral researchers in soil and environmental chemistry. With his mentorship, students in his research group have frequently traveled to a number of national labs including Brookhaven, Lawrence-Berkeley, and Argonne, as well as the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, the Swiss Light Source, and the Canadian Light Source. (full article)

07/07/2011 -

For 20 years now, water quality monitoring volunteers with the Delaware Sea Grant-led University of Delaware Citizen Monitoring Program have fanned out across the state’s coastal region to visit assigned monitoring sites and collect data such as clarity and dissolved oxygen, harmful algae and bacteria levels.

The steady stream of information allows the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and other organizations to provide the public with appropriate health advisories and to keep a close eye on the quality of water.

While their complete impact can’t be quantified — it is known their efforts help ensure safe swimming water, clean shellfish to eat and a healthy ecosystem for citizens and tourists — the volunteers have contributed at least 25,000 service hours, an estimated $550,000 of donated time. (full article)

On top of the world:  UD geographers collaborate on Tibetan Plateau research
07/07/2011 -

A 10-day trip to western China’s Tibetan Plateau in June by two University of Delaware geographers may yield enhanced research collaborations in this vast area so high and cold it’s often referred to as Earth’s “third polar region.”

Profs. Del Levia and Frederick (Fritz) Nelson in the University of Delaware Department of Geography presented a series of lectures at Lanzhou University (LU) and the State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The National Key Basic Research Program of China and CAS supported the trip.

The visit to Lanzhou was a reunion between the UD geographers and Professors Meixue Yang and Xiaohua Gou. Yang, a senior scientist with Key Lab, and Gou, a professor in LU’s College of Earth and Environmental Science, had spent two years at UD in 2006-2008, establishing ties among research programs at the three institutions. (full article)

NSF Highlight: International, interagency PEER program to launch at NSF on July 7
07/01/2011 -

Next week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and United States Agency for International Development will launch a new international, interagency joint initiative, PEER, "Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research." PEER addresses environmental challenges that affect both the United States and the developing world by reinforcing existing relationships and creating new connections. PEER unites NSF's competitively-awarded scientific investments in U.S. institutions with similarly awarded USAID funding directly to international counterpart scientists in the developing world to support and build scientific and technical capacity. PEER builds bonds that will endure beyond the tenure of the program awards.

Communicating science:  July 21 workshop to help scientists, engineers become better communicators
06/27/2011 -

“So, what do you do?”

It’s one of the most common questions posed in everyday life, but for scientists and engineers, answering can be problematic, requiring a quick assessment of the technological savvy of the questioner, whether that person is a relative, a colleague, a reporter or perhaps even a politician. Replying in an engaging way in language the listener can understand often takes forethought and practice. A National Science Foundation-sponsored workshop, “Science: Becoming the Messenger,” aims to help academic scientists and engineers learn to craft responses to this ubiquitous question that are effective in reaching a broad range of audiences through a variety of media.

NSF Highlight: Fastest sea-level rise in two millennia linked to increasing global temperatures
06/21/2011 -

The rate of sea-level rise along the U.S. Atlantic coast is greater now than at any time in the past 2,000 years--and has shown a consistent link between changes in global mean surface temperature and sea level. The findings are published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

NSF Highlight: Where have all the flowers gone?
06/20/2011 -

It's summer wildflower season in the Rocky Mountains, a time when high-peaks meadows are dotted with riotous color. But for how long? Once, wildflower season in montane meadow ecosystems extended throughout the summer months. But now scientists have found a fall-off in wildflowers at mid-season. They published their results, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), in the current issue of the Journal of Ecology.

Tracking water pollutants:  Study evaluates engineered nanoparticles in wastewater
06/17/2011 -

Have you ever wondered what happens to sunscreen after it swirls down the drain with your soap? Probably not, but it is a question that makes Prof. Chin-Pao Huang curious. Sunscreen contains titanium dioxide, an engineered nanoparticle (ENP) that improves the product’s performance, reducing your sunburn risk while outdoors. But if titanium dioxide doesn’t dissolve, where does it go once you wash it off? Huang, Donald C. Phillips Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Delaware, is principal investigator (PI) of a new grant exploring whether ENP are present in ground wastewater. Murray Johnston, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, serves as co-PI on the project.

06/08/2011 -

DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship is now accepting proposals for grants for community water quality improvements projects from state and municipal governments, agencies and programs, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, community organizations, and homeowner associations within Delaware. Proposals must be received by 4:30 p.m., August 1.