If you’re intrigued by the ocean, interested in a career in marine science, or just plain curious about the research that’s being conducted at the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies, why not take a free tour of the college’s Lewes facilities this summer? The tours will be offered every Friday, starting at 10:30 a.m., during June, July, and August.
Since the tour program began in 1992, more than 11,000 people have visited the college’s labs, where scientists are studying topics ranging from El Niño to weird, deep-sea worms. Friendly guides, called docents, lead the tours, which highlight the research and educational activities of one of the top marine institutions in the United States.
“Many people are fascinated by the sea and the marine life they find along Delaware’s beaches,” says Bob Carnahan, coordinator of the dedicated volunteers from the Lewes area who conduct the tours. “We’re always pleased to welcome new visitors to the college to learn more about the ocean and share in the excitement of marine research.”
Each visit typically begins with a 15-minute introductory video, followed by a one-hour walking tour of Cannon and Smith laboratory buildings. In these labs, faculty and graduate students are working on projects with both local and global significance. For example, one group of researchers is working to determine the effect of natural circulation processes on the early life stages of the blue crab, the region’s most economically important fishery. Other scientists are using genetic techniques to develop salt-marsh plants into food and forage crops. The plants are being tested locally, as well as in China, Egypt, Israel, and Thailand.
To join a Friday morning tour, call the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service at (302) 645-4346 no later than noon the preceding day to reserve a place. Since tour groups are limited in size, reservations are imperative. Families are invited to participate; however, the tours are unsuitable for small children.
In addition to the Friday morning tours, the college will continue to offer pre-arranged tours for groups of five or more people, junior-high age or older, Monday through Friday, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Such tours may be scheduled by calling at least a week in advance.
The UD Hugh R. Sharp Campus, located at 700 Pilottown Road in Lewes, is accessible to handicapped visitors.