The University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies (CMS) will offer free public tours of the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes at 10:30 a.m. each Friday during June, July, and August, according to Bob Carnahan.
Carnahan has been heading the group of docents that lead the tours since 1992, when the tour program began. The docents are trained volunteers from the community who introduce the public to the research and teaching facilities at CMS. Last year, more than 1,500 visitors were guided through Cannon and Smith laboratories.
"Delaware's beaches and marine life intrigue many visitors," Carnahan says. "It's natural that their curiosity would lead them to CMS to share in the excitement of marine research.
Scientists and students at CMS are researching marine topics with both local and global significance. For example, a group of researchers is carefully studying the conditions that make Delaware's Inland Bays vulnerable to harmful algal blooms. Others have discovered the ability of the deep-sea Pompeii worm to withstand temperatures of 176°F near deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Still other CMS scientists are working to transform salt-marsh plants into food and forage crops or are contributing data to help understand global climate changes.
The Friday morning tours, convenient for weekend and summer visitors, consist of a 20-minute slide presentation introducing the college's faculty and their work, followed by a one-hour walking tour of the college's laboratories.
Individuals who wish to join a Friday morning tour should 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, but the tours are unsuitable for small children. Prospective students of the college are especially welcome.
In addition to the Friday morning tours, the college will continue to offer prearranged 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 Hugh R. Sharp Campus, located at 700 Pilottown Road in Lewes, is accessible to handicapped visitors.