Academics | Marine Biosciences
Dr. Patrick Gaffney,
About The Marine Biosciences Program
The Marine Biosciences Program at CEOE covers a broad spectrum of interests and approaches, ranging from molecular Biosciences to ecology and ecosystem studies. Students in the program are exposed to the entire spectrum through class work and by participating in research projects that cross the boundaries separating traditional disciplines.
Ongoing research projects illustrate the diversity of topics covered by the program. Researchers are examining the role of chemical metabolites produced by plants and sessile animals as signals for defense or attraction. Faculty and students are also examining a problem faced by some other plants; desiccation when the tide goes out.
The horseshoe crab belongs to the large group of invertebrates (animals without backbones) called Arthropods. This group also includes lobsters, crabs, insects, spiders, and scorpions. Even though it looks crab-like, with a hard shell and claws, the horseshoe crab is more closely related to scorpions and spiders.
Marine microbiologists and ecologists in the program use molecular techniques to examine symbiotic relationships between marine invertebrates and bacteria and how marine bacteria degrade naturally occurring organic matter in the oceans. A growing number of these research efforts are being conducted in our Center for Environmental Genomics and at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. Currently, our scientists are applying molecular markers to determine the genetic population structure of horseshoe crabs, oysters, and finfish along the East Coast. Other studies focus on the distribution and physiological ecology of larval and juvenile forms of marine fish and invertebrates and the impacts of human society on inland coastal bays.
Eelgrass provides food and habitat for crabs, fish and waterfowl. It removes excess nutrients from the water and stabilizes the bay bottom as its long, ribbon-like leaves trap floating particles of sediment. Photo by Kayti Tigani
In our Halophyte Biotechnology Center, scientists are investigating the genetics, ecology, and application of salt-tolerant plants that live at the interface between land and sea. Center scientists collaborate with researchers from around the world to develop and improve varieties of salt-tolerant plants for use in wetland restoration and sustainable agriculture in salt-afflicted soils.
Where We Work
In addition to the sophisticated classroom and laboratory facilities available at CEOE, our students and faculty enjoy ready access to a great variety of marine ecosystems near the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes. These systems include dunes, salt marshes, mudflats, estuaries, and the Atlantic Ocean. Frequently, marine Biosciences research calls for CEOE students and faculty to travel even farther afield to other states and countries and on oceanographic cruises in other seas.
For More Information
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