The University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies (CMS) has announced the appointment of Dr. William Ullman as director of the Oceanography Program, effective July 1, 2003. The Oceanography Program, one of the four graduate program areas at CMS, emphasizes research on physical, geological, biological, and chemical problems in a variety of marine environments, from near-shore coastal environments to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
“I am appreciative that Dr. Ullman has agreed to perform this very important service to our college,” said Dean Thoroughgood in announcing the appointment. “I look forward to his leadership contributions.”
Ullman succeeds Dr. Ferris Webster, who was program director since July 1999 and also from 1983 to 1994. Webster, a resident of Lewes, Delaware, will return to research and teaching on a full-time basis.
A member of UD’s faculty since 1986, Ullman conducts research on projects involving the chemistry of surface waters. In one project of local interest, he is investigating the levels of nutrients that are discharged directly into Delaware’s Inland Bays from storm water, as well as the amount of ammonia and phosphate delivered through the atmosphere.
In addition, he is using airborne thermal infrared imagery to identify regions where groundwater discharges directly into coastal areas of Delaware. These seeps are a direct source of fresh water and can have an impact on both the concentrations of nutrients and the types of organisms that are found in the marine environment.
“A detailed knowledge of nutrient sources and sinks and the processes that control nutrient loads to the Inland Bays will help the state of Delaware to better manage the Inland Bays watershed and its natural resources,” said Ullman.
In another project, he is studying the role bacteria play in the chemical weathering of rock-forming minerals. According to Ullman, biologically induced weathering helps maintain the global environment by controlling the evolution of soils and waters.
Ullman recently returned from a year-long sabbatical in Adelaide, South Australia, where he worked on problems concerning the contamination of fresh water in streams, rivers, lakes, and near-surface aquifers by deeper saline groundwaters. He also conducted research on nutrient contamination in streams, rivers, and coastal embayments — a problem found all over the world including Delaware.
In addition to maintaining an active research program, Ullman teaches several graduate courses each year, ranging from oceanography to geochemistry.
A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ullman currently resides in Lewes, Delaware, with his wife, Kim, and two children. He earned his doctorate in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago, a master’s degree in atmospheric and oceanic sciences from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor’s degree in geology from Yale University.