What does it mean to say that an estuary is polluted or unhealthy, and what does it suggest when we talk about cleaning it up?
Find out at the University of Delaware’s Lunch and Lecture Series event from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 3, 2008, at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Del. UD Professor of Oceanography Jonathan Sharp will present “Delaware River and Bay Health: History and Implications,” a lecture that will offer guests an opportunity to understand the science behind the challenges rivers face and the efforts being made to improve their health.
Sharp will discuss the history of the Delaware River and Bay, which includes 400 years of human abuse such as the dumping of municipal and industrial wastes. As a result of these abuses, the river became so unhealthy that, for example, it completely lacked oxygen and was largely void of aquatic life in the summer by the 1940s.
But thanks to cleanup projects over the past 40 years, the estuary’s future looks to be a lot cleaner, Sharp said. His lecture will detail just how those cleanup projects have worked.
“Many people know the Delaware was a very badly polluted place, and many know it’s had tremendous cleanup,” Sharp said, “but many people don’t know what that means.”
He’ll also discuss how the cleanup efforts could have broader implications.
“The Delaware has had tremendous improvements,” he said. “I think we can take examples from Delaware and use those to guide how we treat other estuary environments.”
Sharp’s research focuses on coastal and estuarine environments, particularly the interchange of carbon and other elements between the water and microscopic algae and bacteria. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in biochemistry from Lehigh University and a doctoral degree in oceanography from Dalhouise University.
The event includes lunch at the award-winning Hotel du Pont, located at 11th and Market Streets in Wilmington. It is sponsored by UD’s College of Marine and Earth Studies (CMES), the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, and DuPont Clear into the Future. Tickets are $15, and advance registration is required by Monday, March 31, 2008. Reserve your seat by calling 302-831-8062 or e-mailing MarineCom@udel.edu.
To learn more about the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, visit www.deseagrant.org. For more about CMES, visit www.ocean.udel.edu.