Charles Epifanio, a professor of marine biology-biochemistry at the University of Delaware, has been appointed associate director of the Delaware Sea Grant College Program. The announcement was made recently by Nancy Targett, who has served as interim director of the program for the past year and will take the helm as Sea Grant director and dean of the UD College of Marine Studies on January 1, 2006.
“Chuck has a tremendous record of accomplishment as a scientist, teacher, and administrator. He also is deeply committed to increasing public understanding of the importance of the state’s marine and coastal resources,” Targett said. “We look forward to his contributions as associate director of the program.”
Epifanio joins the program’s management team, which includes James Falk, director of the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service; Tracey Bryant, director of the Marine Public Education Office; and Malinda Yarnell, program coordinator.
From its administrative base at the University of Delaware, the Delaware Sea Grant College Program operates statewide and encompasses an integrated program of marine and coastal research, graduate student education, and public outreach. Its mission is to advance the wise use, conservation, and management of marine and coastal resources.
Epifanio will play a lead role in coordinating Delaware Sea Grant’s research efforts, which currently include 15 projects relating to ecosystems, environmental technologies and engineering, biotechnology, and marine commerce and transportation.
These projects range from developing a coastal ocean observing system to advance real-time forecasting of weather and wave conditions, to exploring the molecular biology of the horseshoe crab in a quest to develop an artificial bait that fishermen can use instead of the horseshoe crab in the eel and whelk fisheries.
A member of the faculty of the UD College of Marine Studies since 1971, Epifanio has served as both director of the college’s marine biology-biochemistry program and as associate dean. He also has a record of excellence in research, teaching, and service.
Epifanio is a recognized authority on the blue crab — the region’s most economically valuable shellfish. Over the years, he has received numerous competitively funded grants from NOAA, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies in support of his research on the physical and biological factors that drive year-to-year variations in populations of crabs and fish.
In 2002, Epifanio was honored as the first recipient of the University of Delaware’s Outstanding Graduate Student Mentoring and Advising Award at the master’s degree level. He also has presented educational lectures and programs for the public, including crab races and other popular hands-on activities at UD’s annual Coast Day festival.
Epifanio received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Lafayette College and his doctorate in zoology from Duke University. He is based at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.