Students who attend the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies are seeking advanced degrees in one of four program areas — marine biology–biochemistry, marine policy, oceanography, and physical ocean science and engineering. These students arrive at the college with a variety of backgrounds and experiences and from points all over the world.
On Thursday, July 15, at 7:00 p.m., at the college’s Lewes campus, Elif Demir, a doctoral candidate in oceanography, will discuss her research in the presentation, “Studying Harmful Algal Blooms in Delaware: An International Student’s Journey to Your Backyard.” Demir’s lecture is part of the Ocean Currents Lecture Series, which is held monthly at the Lewes campus from April through September.
Demir’s research focuses on how viruses and bacteria interact with harmful algal blooms (HABs). When algae grow very fast, they can “bloom” or accumulate into dense, visible patches near the surface of the water. HABs refer to bloom phenomena that cause negative impacts such as limiting the availability of light for marine organisms. Some HABs may contain toxins that are harmful to humans and aquatic life.
“Viruses and bacteria are natural inhabitants of marine systems and have a vital role in algal bloom dynamics,” says Demir, who is working under the guidance of David A. Hutchins, associate professor of oceanography. “My goal is to determine whether these naturally occurring viruses and bacteria can inhibit or dissipate harmful algal blooms in Delaware’s Inland Bays.”
In 2001, Demir earned a master’s degree in biological oceanography from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and has completed additional graduate work in biological oceanography at the Middle East Technical University’s Institute of Marine Science, located on the southern coast of Turkey. She also obtained a bachelor’s degree in aquatic science from Ege University in Izmir, Turkey.
In addition to Demir’s presentation, Jason Didden, a doctoral candidate in marine policy at the Newark campus, will discuss his research in “Estimating the Value of Water-Quality Improvements to Recreational Anglers in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays.”
Didden will begin his talk by giving a brief overview of the Marine Policy Program at the college. Students who study in this program area analyze various issues that affect the world’s oceans, seabed, and coast in an effort to design and implement effective policies at the regional, national, and international level.
“In my research, for example, I am trying to justify why we should or should not spend the big dollars that are required to improve water quality,” says Didden, who is working under the guidance of marine policy professors Lee G. Anderson and George Parsons. “My goal is to be able to say how improvements in water quality benefit recreational anglers.”
According to Didden, it is easy to estimate how much it will cost to upgrade a sewage facility and improve water quality. However, the benefits should outweigh the costs if the upgrade is to be cost effective. These benefits are often much more difficult to quantify.
Didden grew up in Maryland, often visiting Lewes to fish. In 1997, he graduated from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, with a double major in biology and political science. Before coming to the University of Delaware, he worked for several years in education and environmental consulting.
The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Room 104, Cannon Laboratory, at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes. The hour-long talk will be followed by light refreshments.
While the lecture is free and open to the public, seating is limited and reservations are required. To reserve your seat, please contact the college at (302) 645-4279.