Volume 17, No. 1 Special Issue 1998
Message from the Director
This year marks a special one for the marine and coastal resources
we all love. It's the International Year of the Ocean, so proclaimed
by the United Nations in recognition of the importance of the marine
environment to everyone on the planet.
Here are a few facts that help underscore the importance of the
ocean in our lives:
half the U.S. population lives and works within 50 miles of the
every six jobs in the United States is marine-related. One-third
of our nation's gross domestic product is produced in coastal areas
through fishing, transportation, recreation, and other industries
that depend on healthy waters and marine habitats.
are the leading tourism destination in the United States, with about
180 million people visiting the coast each year.
Here at the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program, our
goal is to promote the wise use, conservation, and management of
our ocean resources through the highest-quality research, graduate
student education, and public service.
Currently, our scientists are conducting research in coastal processes/
engineering, marine biotechnology, environmental studies, fisheries,
and public policy. Their efforts are targeted on major issues critical
to Delaware and to the nation, from beach erosion to horseshoe crab
conservation, from the development of new environmental monitoring
technologies to rapidly assess coastal ecosystem health, to advancing
research and education about the fish-killing organism Pfiesteria.
Our marine outreach team the Marine Advisory Service and
Marine Communications staff help translate and disseminate
Sea Grant research results to business owners, educators, and many
other citizens through workshops, publications, our SeaTalk
radio series, World Wide Web site, and award-winning Coast Day festival.
This year, we're also hosting special Year of the Ocean activities
to encourage even more Delawareans to "get their feet wet"
in marine science.
Without a healthy ocean and coast, our Diamond State would lose
much of its brilliance. During this Year of the Ocean, please join
us in learning more about Delaware's coastal treasures and how we
can protect and preserve them for future generations.
Dr. Carolyn A. Thoroughgood
Director, Sea Grant College Program
Dean, College of Marine and Earth Studies
Coastal Engineering Research
While the coast ranks as our favorite place to live and visit more
than half the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of the coast,
and beaches are the chief tourism destination in the nation
the coast is under constant siege from wind, waves, and sea-level
rise. Improper coastal development also exacerbates erosion problems,
particularly during hurricanes and other major storms.
The goal of coastal engineering research at the University of Delaware
Sea Grant College Program is to develop the means to predict the
behavior of the shoreline under short-term conditions, such as during
storms, and under long-term scenarios, decades into the future.
We're also working to assess the costs and benefits of various methods
that are used to manage and protect beaches, such as beach nourishment.
Besides providing critical habitat for horseshoe crabs and other
marine life, Delaware's beaches help fuel the state's economy. In
1990, an estimated $165 million dollars was spent by tourists in
a nine-month period at our popular resorts from Rehoboth Beach to
Where Do You Go to the Beach?
More than 5 million people visited Delaware's beaches last year.
That's about seven times the state's entire population.
Last fall, George Parsons, an economist at the University of Delaware
College of Marine and Earth Studies, sent a survey to 1,000 residents
in the Mid-Atlantic region to find out which beaches they visit.
He and graduate student Matt Massey are now analyzing the results
to measure the economic value of Mid-Atlantic beaches.
Survey respondents reported the beaches they had visited throughout
the United States in 1997. These data, along with detailed information
on characteristics ranging from the beach's width to the presence
of lifeguards, will enable the researchers to predict beach visitation
patterns throughout the region.
More importantly, the model may be used to predict changes in visitation
patterns in the case of events such as beach closings or loss of
"The model also will enable us to estimate the change in economic
value of beaches when certain characteristics change, such as if
the beach gets narrower, or if it gets more crowded," Parsons
Parsons hopes such information will be useful in benefit-cost analyses
as well as natural resource damage assessments. "For example,
the model could be used in economic analyses for assessing beach
management practices currently in use in Delaware," he says.
Computer Program May
Prove "Shore Bet" in
Predicting Coastline Changes
Coastal engineers face the formidable task of sorting out the hydrodynamics
of the waves and currents that occur nearshore and translating their
complex motions into mathematical and physics equations.
These equations then form the basis of computer models that are
used by coastal engineers and resource managers to predict shorelines,
as well as the performance of coastal protection methods that may
range from jetties to beach nourishment projects.
University of Delaware coastal engineer Ib Svendsen and his students
have developed a promising computer modeling program called "SHORECIRC,"
which, as its name implies, is designed to simulate circulation
processes near the shore.
Currently, Svendsen and his students are testing the model's ability
to elucidate the hydrodynamic mechanisms involved in rip current
generation and evolution.
"Rip currents are among the most feared coastal phenomena
because they can carry swimmers out to sea, causing many to drown,"
says Svendsen. "Coastal engineers recognize rip currents as
an important element in the nearshore circulation balance, particularly
during storms. Nevertheless, few measurements are available that
describe where and when these currents occur."
Through extensive laboratory experiments in the University's 66-foot-long-by-66-foot-wide
directional wave basin, Svendsen and his students hope to begin
solving some of the mysteries of this fascinating, yet often treacherous
"Today's commercial models are not able to provide information
about rip currents," he notes."We are trying to fill that
Recovering from Coastal
Disasters: Who Gets Relief?
When the weather is good, the coast offers the perfect combination
of sea and sunshine. But when a hurricane warning is issued, the
vulnerability of the coast quickly becomes apparent.
From 1953, the year the first Presidential disaster declaration
was issued, to September 1989, the United States never experienced
a disaster costing more than $1 billion in federal relief funds.
Since then, however, there have been 10 disasters exceeding $1 billion
or more in loss, with Hurricane Andrew representing the nation's
most costly calamity.
Rick Sylves, a political scientist at the University of Delaware,
is reviewing the frequency and duration of coastal disasters, the
magnitude of their loss, and the history of disaster relief spending
on federal to local levels in America's 30 coastal states.
"Since 1953, there have been about 2,000 gubernatorial requests
for Presidential declaration of major disaster or emergency, most
of them from coastal states," Sylves says. "About a third
have been denied."
Sylves has completed a series of statistical summaries and maps
that will help tell the story of coastal disaster relief to government
"My hope is that by knowing the disaster record, public officials
will have an even greater appreciation for the need to protect coastal
inhabitants, resources, and property," he says. "I also
hope to provide information that will help governors better understand
why disaster declarations may be turned down."
Marine Biotechnology Research
Broadly defined, marine biotechnology is the use of marine organisms
or their components to provide goods or services.
Nationally, Sea Grant scientists have helped advance the U.S. effort
in marine biotechnology through a number of achievements, from developing
anti-cancer drugs from marine algae, to genetically engineering
microbes for use in cleaning up oil spills.
Here at the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program, marine
biotechnology research began in the 1970s, when our scientists began
working on a regional waste disposal problem of the seafood industry:
blue crab shells. Our scientists discovered a polymer in the blue
crab's shell, called chitin, that could be spun into fibers
for use in surgical sutures, bandages, and other high-value products.
Today, Delaware Sea Grant researchers are conducting a variety
of marine biotechnology research, from examining the shipworm's
biology at the molecular level to figure out better methods of controlling
this pest, to searching out genes for disease resistance that will
help the Mid-Atlantic oyster population begin to recover.
Giving Oysters a Fighting Chance
The parasites MSX and Dermo are harmless to humans but lethal to
oysters. The two diseases have decimated a Delaware Bay fishery
that in its heyday hauled in over 3 million bushels per year.
To increase our native oyster's resistance to the diseases, marine
biologist Patrick Gaffney from the University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies is working with colleagues in the region
on two strategies. One approach is to create a disease-resistant
hybrid by breeding our native oyster with the Pacific oyster. The
other is to explore the genetic diversity within our native oyster,
which ranges from Nova Scotia to the Gulf states, to determine if
any individuals in the species can resist disease and thus be used
in breeding programs.
"While I don't think it's realistic to expect the oyster industry
in the Delaware and Chesapeake bays to ever be what it was years
ago," Gaffney says, "disease-resistant oysters could help
the industry regain some lost ground."
What Cues Baby Crabs to Settle
Down and Behave Like Adults?
Marine biologist Charles Epifanio and his colleagues at the University
of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies want to know what
triggers baby crabs to settle to the bay bottom, where they metamorphose
into young adults.
Knowing the answer could not only shed light on the basic life
processes that govern certain shellfish, but also provide clues
to controlling such pests as the mud crab, which preys on oysters
In a series of lab experiments during the past year, Epifanio and
his team introduced larval mud crabs to clean rocks and shells as
well as to materials covered with the natural bacterial slime, or
biofilm, that rapidly coats objects submerged in seawater.
"The results were striking," Epifanio says. "The
clean materials had no effect on the larvae, but the structures
covered with biofilm induced the crabs' metamorphosis to the next
stage of life."
The researchers also found that exudates from adult mud crabs as
well as from a predator the blue crab induced the
mud crab babies to mature.
Currently, the research team is working to isolate these chemical
cues. If the chemical recipes can be identified, they may foster
new controls for mud crabs.
Shipworm Researchers Find Exciting
Answers to "Boring" Problem
The shipworm would be the perfect monster for a horror film set
in a forest. This animal loves to bore wood. But ironically, if
it weren't for some special bacteria that live in one of its glands,
it could never digest its prey.
"Shipworms can digest wood only because of the symbiotic relationship
they have with these bacteria," says molecular biologist Craig
Cary of the University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies.
"While the shipworm provides the bacteria with a home, the
bacteria provide the shipworm with the enzymes it needs to digest
cellulose, the chief component of wood."
But how do shipworms acquire the microbes so critical to their
survival? The answer could provide insight into new ways of combating
the wood borer, which annually causes billions of dollars in damaged
ships, piers, and other structures.
To find out, Cary and graduate student Alison Sipe set up a shipworm
culture facility and constructed molecular probes to help them search
out the shipworm's microscopic partners in crime.
Based on the scientific literature, the scientists thought their
quarry would be only one kind of bacteria. But in a startling discovery,
Sipe has found that each of the three shipworm species she has examined
so far has its own unique bacterial partner. From one of these shipworm
species, she has successfully isolated a novel strain of bacteria
that has not been cultivated before.
The scientists also think they've determined at least how one shipworm
species, native to the West Coast, acquires its bacteria. Cary says
the microbes appear to be carried on from one generation to the
next in the shipworm's eggs.
At this point, with shipworm bacteria in culture, Cary and Sipe
will begin testing the microbes' sensitivities to various compounds
extracted from wood. Since certain tropical woods have superior
resistance to shipworm infestation, the scientists will be examining
them in search of an antimicrobial compound. Once identified, its
effectiveness in squelching the wood borer's appetite will be tested.
Sorting Out the Policy
Implications of Marine Biotechnology
While marine biotechnology has led to significant advancements
in medicine and other areas, it also raises serious legal, ethical,
and safety questions.
For example, who should have access to the ocean jurisdictions
of coastal nations for the prospecting of marine organisms? Or how
should biotechnology be used in the production of aquacultured seafood?
Marine policy professors Biliana Cicin-Sain and Robert Knecht of
the University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies are
wrapping up a three-year study that has examined these weighty issues
as they apply to the marine realm.
With the help of an interdisciplinary team of experts, the scientists
examined issues of access to marine organisms, biosafety, and intellectual
property rights regarding biotechnological applications ranging
from aquaculture to marine pollution control.
"There is no question that marine biotechnology holds great
promise in improving human lives," says Cicin-Sain. "By
addressing policy, regulatory, and ethical issues early on, we're
hoping to help government and industry better prepare for and respond
to these issues in the best interests of the public and the marine
Currently, Cicin-Sain and Knecht are preparing a book based on
their Sea Grant research for Island Press.
Environmental Studies Research
More than half the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of the coast,
yet coastal areas account for only 11% of the nation's land area.
A healthy marine environment is critical to Delaware's future.
Our coastal treasures include more than 260 miles of saltwater shoreline;
about 90,000 acres of tidal wetlands; two National Estuaries
the Delaware Bay, and the Inland Bays; the busiest canal in the
nation the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal; and 24 miles of
beaches along the Atlantic Ocean.
Currently, University of Delaware Sea Grant researchers are working
to transform the marsh reed Phragmites australis from a nuisance
plant into a low-cost sludge buster for local sewage treatment plants.
As part of a regional marsh restoration project, we're also studying
how the burning and spraying of Phragmites in a marsh affects
the ecology of marsh creeks. We're examining cross-shore circulation
patterns in Delaware Bay to learn more about pollution transport.
And we're developing new technologies from a diagnostic probe,
to satellite techniques to rapidly assess the health of coastal
Going with the Flow in Delaware
With the last current meter safely deployed in Delaware Bay, oceanographer
Kuo-Chuin Wong breathes a sigh of relief. The sphere-shaped instrument
will provide him with data on the bay's little-known cross-shore
"Most people think of circulation in estuaries like the Delaware
Bay as a simple southerly movement, with water traveling through
the channel," says Wong. "But there are also cross-bay
circulation patterns that help distribute salt, nutrients, and pollutants
in Delaware Bay."
Wong's research has confirmed the existence of two branches of
brackish outflow in the shallow areas along the bay's shores, separated
by a much saltier inflow in the deep channel. He also has discovered
that a down-estuary wind strengthens this pattern, while an up-estuary
wind greatly weakens it.
"What this means is that the Delaware Bay's circulation is
more complex than most of us realized," Wong notes. "A
better understanding of the bay's circulation system can help us
in many ways. For example, we can better predict the path of disasters
such as oil spills to speed their cleanup."
Marsh "Weed" Turns
New Leaf to Become Sludge Buster
Many tourists consider the plant to be beautiful, its tasseled,
blue-green stalks turning to gold in winter. But Phragmites australis
is regarded as a scourge by resource managers because it has overtaken
thousands of acres of Delaware's marshes, crowding out more desirable
plants that provide wildlife with food and habitat.
Lately, however, it appears that Phragmites may be turning
over a new leaf. Capitalizing on the extensive root system that
makes the plant such a wetlands pest, scientist Jack Gallagher is
putting Phragmites to work as a sludge buster at sewage treatment
facilities in Bridgeville and Delmar.
"What Phragmites does is speed up the drying and decomposition
of the treated waste, leaving less sludge to haul away," says
Gallagher, who is a botanist at the University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies.
The 2,000 plants he and graduate student Tamara Saltman helped
install at Bridgeville's facility three years ago have multiplied
to 29,000 plants. So far, these plants have saved the Bridgeville
facility $2,000 a year.
The scientists are also testing a variegated strain of Phragmites,
with yellow-striped leaves, to determine if it can break down sludge
even faster than its wild cousin. So far, they've found the variegated
strain, which they developed, to be as effective a sludge buster
as the wild type.
They also say the variegated Phragmites may be a better
choice for planting in open-air sludge beds. Since the variegated
plant is sterile, it can't change its stripes to become a marsh
Film Reveals Status of Marsh
It takes teamwork to collect and analyze the biological films that
form on the surface of a marsh creek, as botanist Denise Seliskar
and postdoctoral fellow Wendy Carey can tell you. Over 12-hour tidal
cycles, the two scientists from the University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies continuously dip a glass plate into the
marsh creek to collect the film on the water surface. Back in the
lab, microscopic and chemical analyses are done on the film and
The films that float on the surface of a marsh creek often contain
algae and other nutrient-rich material that provide a concentrated
food source for fish and other animals. But up to now, these nutritious
films largely have been ignored in marsh ecology.
"We found that the surface films were much richer biologically
than the water beneath them," Seliskar notes. "Last July,
for example, we observed thousands of algal cells per milliliter
in the film on one creek compared to very few in the water column
Her and Carey's research also indicates that a marsh does recover
well from spraying and burning for the marsh nemesis Phragmites.
"While the spraying and burning of the marsh to control this
plant may put a temporary lull on things," Seliskar says, "our
films show that the ecology of the marsh creeks does come back to
rival that of natural creeks."
Probing for Answers to Chemistry
George Luther inserts the glass tube into the flame of the Bunsen
burner and extrudes one end into a fine taper. Next, a gold wire
plated with mercury will be introduced into the glass and carefully
sealed under the burner's steady glow.
Once completed, the device a microelectrode can be
inserted into seawater, sediments, or even bacterial films to quickly
measure a number of highly reactive chemicals and metals that can
reveal an ecosystem's health, including dissolved oxygen, hydrogen
sulfide, iron, and manganese. Previous probes could characterize
only gaseous compounds, and typically only one gas could be measured
During the past year, Luther, an oceanographer at the University
of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies, has been working
on a new probe to measure nitrate and ammonia, reactive forms of
nitrogen that can have serious impacts on the health of coastal
waters. He also recently tested the original microelectrode's sea
legs. Last summer, it was deployed on a remotely operated vehicle
to analyze seafloor sediments in real time off the New Jersey coast.
Advancing New Technologies
to Assess Coastal Health
Satellites can easily detect concentrations of chlorophyll
a key water-quality indicator in the open ocean.
But in estuaries like the Delaware Bay, bottom sediments and runoff
suspended by the tides interfere with chlorophyll's spectral signature,
making water-quality assessments by satellite difficult.
To overcome this limitation, scientists in Delaware Sea Grant's
Coastal Ecosystem Health Project have developed a new data processing
method using a neural network, which can sort out patterns
and "learn" from trial and error.
Modeled after the brain's system of neurons, neural networks have
been used to perform such tasks as foreign language translation.
To enable their neural network to discern chlorophyll versus suspended
sediment concentrations in Delaware Bay satellite images, researchers
primed it with a training set of data from actual water-quality
measurements taken in the bay. The network then used the data to
calibrate its patterns to correctly interpret future inputs.
The Coastal Ecosystem Health Project is led by an interdisciplinary
team of experts in satellite oceanography, marine policy, and outreach
from the University of Delaware, with input from state coastal managers.
The project's goal is to develop techniques that managers can use
to improve ecosystems from the St. Jones River watershed, to Delaware
Fisheries & Aquaculture Research
The United States is the world's fifth largest seafood harvester,
posting 9.6 billion pounds in commercial landings in 1996, valued
at $3.5 billion.
Unfortunately, however, most commercial fish stocks in U.S. waters
and around the world are in serious decline, with many in dire need
Here at the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program, we're
working to understand how physical and biological factors affect
the feeding, growth, and survival of important Mid-Atlantic fisheries
ranging from blue crabs to summer flounder. We're also working to
relieve fishing pressure on the horseshoe crab, a critical Delaware
Bay resource that is being used as eel and whelk bait, by creating
an artificial bait that chemically mimics it.
To keep up with the growing demand for seafood, aquaculture must
continue to grow. Sea Grant research is now under way at Delaware
State University to determine optimal growing conditions for native
crayfish, as well as for bait fish.
What Conditions Fuel
Fast Flounder Growth?
The estuaries along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts provide nursery
grounds for numerous fishes. Knowing what environmental conditions
help young fish grow best can help resource managers better define
and protect critical fish habitat.
"When fish are this young they're extremely vulnerable to
predators," says Tim Targett, a fisheries scientist at the
University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies, as he
nets the 2-inch flounder swimming in the tank in front of him. "We're
trying to determine what nursery conditions will help young flounder
grow fastest, increasing their odds of survival."
Targett is finishing up experiments that will reveal the optimum
temperature and salinity conditions for young summer and southern
flounder. Next, he'll examine the effect of turbidity, or water
clarity, on the fish. When his research is complete, it will help
resource managers define the habitat vital to the early life stages
of these two important East Coast fisheries.
Mapping the Voyage of
the Baby Blue Crabs
When baby blue crabs hatch in the Delaware Bay in July and August,
wind and river flow transport them to the ocean where they spend
the first few weeks of their lives. Winds later position large numbers
of these larval crabs near the Delaware Bay's mouth where tides
help carry them back into the bay to mature.
Oceanographer Richard Garvine and marine biologist Charles Epifanio,
of the University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies,
have pooled their talents to map the natural forces that dictate
the baby blue crab's itinerary in its first few months of life.
Previous research by the scientists has indicated that blue crabs
spawned at the mouth of Delaware Bay are carried rapidly southward
by the Delaware Coastal Current, which flows out of Delaware Bay,
takes a right turn, and then hugs the coast. Some of these crabs
are later shuttled northward by summertime winds for re-entry into
However, Garvine and Epifanio also have identified a "null
zone," along the northern mouth of Delaware Bay and southern
New Jersey coast, where patches of baby crabs may be found. Using
larval crab collectors and satellite-tracked drifters, the scientists
hope to determine this zone's impact on the Delaware Bay's most
Artificial Bait May Take the
Pressure Off the Horseshoe Crab
The horseshoe crab lived at the time of the dinosaurs. Yet sharp
declines in its population make some fear it may share the same
fate as its prehistoric friends.
The horseshoe crab's decline is attributed to factors ranging from
the loss of sandy beaches the animal needs to lay its eggs, to overharvesting,
particularly of females, for use as eel and whelk bait.
During the past year, Nancy Targett, marine biologist and associate
dean at the University of Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies,
has been working to minimize fishing pressure on the horseshoe crab
through biochemistry. She has made significant progress toward identifying
the stimulant in female horseshoe crabs that makes them such an
irresistible bait for eels and whelks. With this information, she
wants to develop an artificial bait that will attract eels and whelks
just as well as female horseshoe crabs do.
She and her graduate students are in the home stretch in chemically
characterizing the attractant. The next step will be to incorporate
the compound into a variety of artificial bait types and test their
effectiveness. Several commercial fishermen have already contacted
Targett, offering to test the baits when they are ready.
"The fishing industry is very supportive of this effort,"
Targett says. "With their help, our goal is to create an artificial
horseshoe crab bait that will work as well as the traditional one.
The result should be a win-win situation for the fishermen as well
as the horseshoe crab, resulting in more horseshoe crabs for spawning
and sustainable uses in medicine."
The Delaware Bay is home to the largest population of horseshoe
crabs in the world. Here, freshly spawned horseshoe crab eggs fuel
over a million shorebirds on their spring migration north to the
In human medicine, one of the creature's most important contributions
is a compound in its blood which is used by the pharmaceutical industry
to test intravenous drugs for dangerous bacteria. Blood for this
test is removed from the horseshoe crab without harming the animal.
Netting the Best Methods
for Growing Fish
How do you quickly and economically grow crayfish ready for market,
and bait fish ready for sale? Pinpointing the optimum conditions
for accomplishing these feats is the goal of Bernie Petrosky and
Bill Daniels, aquatic biologists at Delaware State University.
In Delaware State's expansive aquaculture ponds, the scientists
are analyzing the growth of mummichogs, a popular bait fish, under
different water management regimes.
Figuring out the best system for maintaining good water quality
is critical to the success of any aquaculture operation since fish
live, eat, and "breathe" in the same water in which they
excrete their waste.
"The water-quality information we develop will be applicable
to any bait fish," says Daniels. "Growing bait fish may
offer farmers, for example, a way to use a farm pond to supplement
their incomes without a major investment in labor."
In other research, Petrosky and Daniels are conducting laboratory
experiments to determine the best techniques for growing the eastern
White River crayfish, the only crayfish native to our area.
"We're working to figure out the production techniques that
will enable local fish farmers to produce crayfish year-round,"
Public Education & Outreach
People from all walks of life enjoy the beauty of the ocean and its
bounty. As the number of people living near the coast continues to
climb, public education about the ocean and its importance will be
critical to our future.
Here at the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program, we
have a corps of outreach specialists dedicated to assisting the
public with coastal challenges and opportunities: our Marine Advisory
Service (MAS) and Marine Communications staffs.
The MAS travels the state to assist Delawareans with issues pertaining
to aquaculture, seafood technology, marine education, marine resource
management, and marine recreation and tourism.
The Marine Communications staff helps translate Sea Grant research
into a variety of publications, communicates our research to the
media, produces the SeaTalk
radio series, develops our Web site at www.ocean.udel.edu,
Together, these staffs coordinate our popular celebration of the
ocean: Coast Day, held every first Sunday in October at the Lewes
Shares Science with You
The Marine Communications staff, based at the University of Delaware's
main campus in Newark, works constantly to help extend marine information
to the public.
The five-member staff develops and distributes publications ranging
from technical reports to press releases, as well as radio announcements,
videos, and Web pages.
Among the staff's accomplishments during the past year were the
proceedings of a public forum on horseshoe crabs; fact sheets on
topics from Pfiesteria to El Niño; and media relations
activities resulting in coverage by the Associated Press to CNN.
The staff also won awards from the Council for the Advancement
and Support of Education, Delaware Press Association, International
Association of Business Communicators, National Federation of Press
Women, and Society for Technical Communication.
The Marine Communications team includes art director David Barczak,
marine outreach coordinator Tracey Bryant, production manager Pamela
Donnelly, administrative assistant Kimberly Doucette, and marine
outreach specialist Claire McCabe.
Marine Advisory Service Helps
Tackle Coastal Challenges
A typical day with the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine
Advisory Service (MAS) might take you to a workshop to demonstrate
safe seafood handling practices to professional chefs in the morning,
to a meeting of chamber of commerce members interested in learning
more about ecotourism in the evening.
Directing the efforts of the six-person staff is marine biologist
Kent Price. A member of the faculty of the University's College of Marine and Earth Studies for the past 31 years, Price conducts
a variety of environmental and fisheries research, ranging from
the development of a novel artificial reef made of stabilized coal-ash
waste, to a present study to examine the effect of nutrient enrichment
on the plant and animal communities in Delaware's Inland Bays.
Marine recreation and tourism specialist Jim Falk is working with
the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
and the Center for the Inland Bays to develop a water-use plan for
Delaware's Inland Bays. The purpose of the plan is to help better
manage the diversity of activities in the bays, from crabbing to
jet skiing. Using a consensus-building approach, Falk has hosted
public meetings to help identify and minimize water-use conflicts
in the bays in order to design a blueprint for their future. Falk
is also helping to coordinate a summer workshop for the state tourism
industry on the microorganism Pfiesteria piscicida, which
was implicated in fish kills in nearby Maryland waters last year.
Marine resource management specialist Joe Farrell is involved in
several cooperative projects that are providing interdisciplinary
University resources in support of local community problems. In
one project, Farrell and colleague Jack Martin, from the University's
College of Agricultural Sciences, are characterizing storm water
impact on South Bethany's canal system using automated water sampling
equipment. This project is a result of an earlier collaborative
effort between the town and the Inland Bays Citizens Monitoring
Program, which Farrell manages, that assessed water quality in the
Seafood technology specialist Doris Hicks provides seafood handling
and preparation information to a variety of groups, from seafood
processors to consumers. During the past year, as part of a national
Sea Grant alliance, she helped instruct regional seafood processors
in the seafood safety techniques of the Hazard Analysis Critical
Control Point (HACCP) program. Hicks also continues to write the
"Seafood Advisor" column for the National Fisheries Institute's
Seafood Source newsletter, as well as a guest column for
the Cape Gazette in Lewes. This summer, under the sponsorship
of the Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center, Hicks is coordinating
a special program for food educators to promote greater use of aquacultured
Aquaculture specialist John Ewart operates the Delaware Aquaculture
Resource Center in Cannon Laboratory at the University's Lewes campus.
Open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, the center
offers fish farmers a variety of resource materials, from supply
catalogs to instructional videos. Increasingly, fish farmers also
are tapping into the resource center's Web site at
darc.cms.udel.edu. Currently, Ewart is exploring a variety
of production techniques for growing oysters in the Inland Bays.
Besides serving on the Delaware Aquaculture Advisory Council, he
also is coordinating the Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center's
regional extension network.
Marine education specialist Bill Hall helps bring the ocean into
Delaware classrooms. Each year, several hundred teachers participate
in the marine science workshops he develops with the state Department
of Education. This summer, he is coordinating "Operation Pathfinder"
for the Mid-Atlantic region. This course, sponsored by the U.S.
Navy, introduces kindergarten through twelfth-grade teachers to
oceanographic concepts. In addition to drafting popular publications
on marine life, Hall also helps organize the horseshoe crab census
held annually along Delaware Bay.
International Year of the Ocean
The University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program is hosting a
number of special events to celebrate the Year of the Ocean, from
public lectures featuring renowned marine scientists, to our Coast
Day festival in October. We invite you to join us!
We also encourage you to adopt these great stewardship practices,
presented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Top 10 Things You
Can Do to Help Our Ocean
1. Learn all you can about the ocean.
2. Be a smart shopper. Know the source and quality of your seafood.
3. Conserve water.
4. Reduce your use of household pollutants, including herbicides,
pesticides, and cleaning products.
5. Reduce waste. Recycle, re-use, and compost.
6. Reduce automobile pollution. Use fuel-efficient vehicles or
carpool. Recycle motor oil.
7. Protect ocean wildlife. Don't dispose of fishing lines, nets,
or plastic items in or near the water.
8. Be considerate of sea-life habitats. Don't feed sea birds,
mammals, or turtles, or disturb their nesting grounds.
9. Get involved. Take part in a beach cleanup or other ocean-oriented
10. Care about the ocean! Pass on your knowledge!
For more information, visit NOAA's Year of the Ocean Web site
Sea Grant Hosts Lecture
Series to Bring Ocean to Public
This past spring, the University of Delaware Sea Grant College
Program and the College of Marine and Earth Studies co-sponsored
a special lunchtime lecture series, featuring renowned speakers,
at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington.
The distinguished lecturers for the series included JoAnn Burkholder,
the North Carolina State University botanist who is regarded as
the world's expert on the fish-killing organism Pfiesteria piscicida;
D. James Baker, Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere in the
U.S. Department of Commerce and administrator of the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration; and Sylvia Earle, the pioneering
ocean scientist whose accomplishments have ranged from walking on
the ocean floor untethered at 1,250 feet a feat unmatched
by any other deep-sea explorer, to founding Deep Ocean Exploration
and Research, a company that designs, operates, and consults on
manned and robotic sub-sea systems.
The lecture series drew nearly 400 participants, from members of
the Wilmington business community, to retirees and students.
Learn More about Shore at Coast
What began as a simple open house in 1977 at the University of
Delaware College of Marine and Earth Studies in Lewes is now the
single largest educational event hosted by the University of Delaware.
It's Coast Day!
Coordinated by the outreach staff of the University of Delaware
Sea Grant College Program, Coast Day annually attracts more than
10,000 visitors to the Lewes campus to learn about marine science
firsthand through research demonstrations, ship tours, lectures,
marine critter touch tanks, and many other activities.
A special Year of the Ocean celebration is in development for our
22nd annual Coast Day on Sunday, October 4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
at the Lewes campus. For more information, call (302) 831-8083 or
visit our Web site at www.ocean.udel.edu.
Sea Grant College Program
1, 1997 June 30, 1998
Federal & Other
Coastal Processes/ Engineering
In addition to this funding, University of Delaware Sea Grant investigators
successfully competed for several special grants from the National
Sea Grant College Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
U.S. Department of Commerce. Funds for these projects are managed
by Delaware Sea Grant and serve as an important mechanism for the
development of comprehensive and integrated research efforts:
Patrick Gaffney was awarded $83,000 from the Oyster Disease Program
to continue his research on MSX and Dermo and the Mid-Atlantic oyster
policy professor Robert Knecht and satellite oceanographer Vic Klemas
began the third year of a three-year special enhancement award totaling
$1,055,234 to provide resource managers with innovative technologies
for monitoring and improving coastal ecosystems such as Delaware
Bay. This is a multidisciplinary approach involving GIS/remote sensing,
policy studies, and outreach.
professors Bernie Petrosky and William Daniels, at Delaware State
University, began the second year of a special three-year award,
totaling $150,000, to develop aquaculture methods appropriate to
the Mid-Atlantic region for crayfish and bait fish.
professors Robert Knecht and Biliana Cicin-Sain began a one-year,
$98,000 project to initiate a national dialogue on U.S. national
and coastal ocean policy including assessment of the work of the