Vol. 22, No. 1 Special Issue 2003
The Ocean Touches Your Life
Meet the Barczaks from Newark, Delaware. Like most beach-goers,
they arrive at the Delaware shore with plenty of gear in tow —
from boogie boards to fishing rods — ready for a day of sun,
fun, and relaxation.
The Barczaks are among more than 5 million people who visit the
Delaware seashore each year, drawn like a magnet to the 24-mile
stretch of coastline bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
Yet when their day at the beach is over, the Barczaks’ connection
to the ocean will not end. And neither will yours.
Whether you live in Delaware or thousands of miles from shore,
the ocean touches your life every day.
As you’ll see highlighted here, the ocean turns up in a lot
of places, from the toothpaste you brush your teeth with, to the
clothes on your back.
For coastal states like Delaware, this ocean connection is even
more inextricable. Nearly all of Delaware resides in the coastal
plain, and our heritage and economy have long been linked to the
sea through ports and shipping, fishing, tourism, and other industries,
and much-treasured leisure-time activities.
Yet increasing human pressures are impacting marine resources in
Delaware and around the globe, resulting in polluted waters, declining
fisheries, lost wetlands, and other problems.
Through marine research and public education, the University of
Delaware Sea Grant College Program is working to address a number
of coastal challenges on behalf of Delawareans like the Barczaks
and the ocean we all depend on.
As you read this report, we hope you will be reminded of the critical
importance of Delaware’s marine resources and the role you
play in their future.
Research, Education, and Public Service —
that’s what the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program
is all about. Our goal is to promote the wise use, conservation,
and management of coastal resources by conducting high-quality research,
educating the next generation of environmental leaders, and serving
the public with trustworthy information.
We’re part of a national network of
Sea Grant colleges based along the entire U.S. coastline. Our funding
comes from the federal government through the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the State of Delaware, and the
University of Delaware.
Currently, Delaware Sea Grant is conducting
19 research projects in five priority areas: coastal ocean studies,
coastal engineering, environmental technology, marine biotechnology,
and fisheries. These projects range from determining the conditions
that trigger blooms of Chattonella, a species of harmful
algae recently discovered in Delaware’s Inland Bays, to developing
new satellite technologies for monitoring the health of our waterways.
This report highlights only a small portion
of our research and outreach program. To learn more, visit us at
www.ocean.udel.edu. To share your
coastal concerns, please fill out the brief survey on back or write
to us at MarineCom@udel.edu.
Your input is important to us!
Dr. Carolyn A. Thoroughgood
Director, Sea Grant College Program
Dean, College of Marine and Earth Studies
a New Bay Threat
In the past decade, an unwelcome cast of
characters has appeared in Delaware’s Inland Bays. First it
was Pfiesteria, then red tide, then brown tide. Then in
2000, Chattonella came on the scene, implicated as “a
contributing factor” in a massive fish kill in Bald Eagle
Chattonella and its companions are
Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) species — microscopic plants that
can multiply rapidly, or “bloom,” with often-devastating
results for marine life. Some HAB species, like Chattonella,
release toxins dangerous to fish and humans.
During the next two years, UD marine scientists
Mark Warner and David Hutchins will be working to find out what
conditions trigger Chattonella blooms and exploring methods
to control future outbreaks.
“Lots of different algae live in our
coastal waters,” Warner says. “The algae that bloom
are often superior competitors for available light and nutrients.”
In addition to examining how Chattonella
responds to various light and nutrient levels, the scientists want
to identify the bacteria and viruses that attack Chattonella
in its natural environment.
“Such native biological controls may
lead to practical ways of containing Chattonella blooms
in the future,” Hutchins notes.
Monitoring the Delaware
Bay's Health from Space
Miles above us, satellites orbit the Earth,
recording what they see. Using these images, UD oceanographer Xiao-Hai
Yan has pioneered techniques for monitoring ocean phenomena on global
to local scales.
Yan made international headlines recently
when he discovered that El Niño, the infamous weather maker,
causes an imbalance in the Earth’s rotation that winds up
making our day a few fractions of a second longer.
Currently, in Sea Grant research, he and
his research team are working out the complex mathematics behind
new satellite image-processing techniques that will help scientists
and resource managers more easily monitor the health of the Delaware
Bay. Examining high-resolution images of the bay taken by satellites
and radar, he and his team are steadily sorting out the spectral
signatures of key water-quality indicators, such as chlorophyll,
which reveals the presence of algae in the bay.
Happy as a Clam? —
High-Tech Tool May Tell
Whether steamed and served with butter or
swimming in chowder, the hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria)
has lots of fans among seafood lovers. In Delaware, the hard clam
supports both commercial and recreational fisheries in the Inland
Bays. Region-wide, the commercial shellfishery is valued at over
$65 million and is expected to grow.
UD marine biologist Adam Marsh is leading
a Sea Grant research project to develop a new technique for monitoring
hard clam health. He and marine biologist Kevin Fielman and Marine
Advisory Service specialist John Ewart will be examining hard clams
at the DNA level to identify “biomarkers” — key
stress-response proteins that can be used as a rapid test for QPX
disease or other environmental stressors.
QPX is a parasite that can cause high mortalities
in hard clam populations. Aggressive monitoring programs for the
clam parasite have been established in a number of states; however,
none currently exists in Delaware.
“With oyster populations decimated
along the Atlantic seaboard and continuing declines in blue crab
landings, hard clams rapidly are becoming a more important fishery
resource in the Mid-Atlantic states,” Marsh says. “An
advanced monitoring program in Delaware’s Inland Bays could
help aid future management of this public resource.”
Going with the Flow in
Little Assawoman Bay
Aboard the 26-foot research vessel Captain Thomas White,
UD marine scientist Kuo-Chuin Wong prepares to release a current
meter into Little Assawoman Bay. The black sphere, about a foot
in diameter, will record the speed and direction of the water flow
at this location over the next 75 days.
It’s a task that will be repeated several times in the next
year. Wong also will be monitoring water temperature, salinity,
and sea-level rise at several locations and sorting out the effects
of tides, wind, and river discharge on water flow. The goal of his
research is to provide scientists, resource managers, and local
citizens with a clearer understanding of this shallow bay’s
Little Assawoman Bay is connected to Indian River Bay on the north
by the Assawoman Canal, and to the Assawoman Bay on the south via
a narrow channel. No one knows how much water is exchanged among
these systems. The answer could help shed light on a number of issues
facing Little Assawoman Bay, from the increased incidence of harmful
algae to a recent call for dredging the Little Assawoman Canal.
The study is funded by Sea Grant in partnership with the Delaware
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
Engineering a New
Nearshore Wave Model
The complex interplay of waves and currents
in harbors like Indian River Inlet often can result in treacherous
boating conditions. Predicting the sea’s actions in nearshore
regions is the goal of a new wave model that Delaware coastal engineers
are developing in collaboration with scientists from across the
UD coastal engineer Jim Kirby is leading
the project, which is funded by the National Oceanographic Partnership
Program and involves physical oceanographers from nine states. When
completed,the new model will be able
to accurately predict waves, currents, sediment transport, and changes
in bathymetry between the shoreline to a depth of about 10 meters
(33 feet) and along a distance up to 5 kilometers (3 miles).
Kirby’s Sea Grant research is critical
to the model’s real-world application. During the next two
years, he and colleague Fengyan Shi will be developing computer
programs to access the data their small-scale model needs from larger-scale
models that can predict tides and waves along shorelines as long
as half the East Coast and as far offshore as the Gulf Stream.
Finding Fresh Water
in the Sea
Ancient Greek and Egyptian sailors knew
of freshwater seeps along the coast where drinking water could be
collected during long ocean voyages. Scientists now believe these
groundwater discharge zones may be responsible for up to 10% of
the total freshwater input to the ocean.
However, these seeps release more than just
fresh water to the sea. They also transport nutrients and other
contaminants from the land.
During the past few years, UD oceanographers
Bill Ullman and Doug Miller have identified seeps along the Delaware
coast and have analyzed in detail the hydrology, chemistry, and
biology of a seep along the Delaware Bay at Cape Henlopen and several
others in Indian River Bay.
During the next two years, the scientists
will be working to set up a permanent observatory for the study
of groundwater discharge at one of the sites.
“We know that seep water has high concentrations
of nutrients, but we don’t know the quantities of nutrients
that these seeps are contributing to coastal waters, particularly
in enclosed systems like the Inland Bays,” Miller explains.
“A permanent observatory will help us define that unknown.”
The scientists also want to learn more about
the organisms that inhabit these freshwater oases in the sea.
“Seeps are fascinating zones that
support unique communities of organisms — mostly marine worms
called polychaetes,” Miller says. “These worms turn
over the entire seafloor as they feed on microbes in the mud. Their
dense burrows and pellets often can reveal a seep’s location
along the coast.”
Sea Grant Outreach
Sea Grant has an ocean of information to
share with you! Our outreach team — the Marine Advisory Service
(MAS) and the Marine Public Education Office — work together
to relay research-based information on a variety of topics.
From UD’s Lewes campus, the MAS travels
the state to assist Delawareans with issues in aquaculture, fisheries,
coastal processes and hazards, marine education, marine transportation,
tourism, seafood technology, and water quality.
The Marine Public Education Office, based
at UD’s Newark campus, translates complex scientific information
and pre-sents it in award-winning publications, “SeaTalk”
radio announcements, on-line expeditions, and Web sites.
This page highlights just a few of our outreach
activities. For more information, visit Sea Grant on the Web at
www.ocean.udel.edu or contact
the MAS at (302) 645-4346 or the Marine Public Education Office
at (302) 831-8083.
Watch Out for Rip
Rip currents cause over 100 drownings along
the U.S. coast each year. MAS specialist Wendy Carey is working
with the National Weather Service, DNREC, and local beach patrols
to establish a rip current warning system for Delaware. Educational
signs about rip current safety and other topics also have been installed
at Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, and Bethany Beach through a community
Delaware Sea Grant, DNREC, and the Center
for the Inland Bays have launched a statewide Clean Marina Program.
Besides an extensive guidebook for marinas, MAS specialist David
Chapman has developed a handy boater tip card for the boating public.
For a free copy, call (302) 645-4346.
Discover Deep Sea
Last fall, 42,000 middle- and high-school students from across the
United States joined “Extreme 2002,” a virtual field
trip to hydrothermal vents in the Pacific Ocean. The innovative
program, led by UD scientist Craig Cary and the Marine Public Education
Office, was supported by the National Science Foundation, WHYY-TV,
and the MBNA Foundation. Among its honors, the expedition Web site
— has earned the National Science Teachers Association’s
mark of excellence. Dive in today!
Do you know how to properly store, handle,
and prepare seafood once you’ve purchased or caught it? MAS
specialist Doris Hicks delivers safe seafood handling programs to
industry and the public. To learn more, visit her pages on the Sea
Grant Web site at www.ocean.udel.edu.
Define "Quality of Life"
Clean environment, good economy, presence
of open space, and good transportation system — these are
all major factors that add up to Sussex Countians’ quality
of life, according to recent surveys conducted by MAS specialist
Joe Farrell and MAS director Jim Falk through Sea Grant’s
Coastal Communities initiative. The final reports, available in
the near future, will aid local planning efforts. For more information,
please contact the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service at (302) 645-4346.
Charter and head boats have formed the backbone
of the Mid-Atlantic sportfishing industry for over a century. Delaware
Sea Grant recently helped host a regional workshop on business and
legal issues affecting offshore chartering and regional sportfisheries.
The successful program attracted charter operators from five states.
For more information, contact MAS specialist John Ewart at (302)
a Marine Science Career
There’s a whole ocean out there, waiting to be explored!
If you’re interested in marine science, contact the Marine
Public Education Office at (302) 831-8083 and request a free copy
of “Marine Science Careers.” Written by MAS specialist
Bill Hall, the full-color, four-page publication highlights careers
in marine biology to ocean engineering, the education you’ll
need, and job outlook.
Ocean Currents Lecture Series — Free lectures by UD marine
scientists are presented once a month, April through September,
at 7 p.m., UD Hugh R. Sharp Campus, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes. Reservations
are required. Contact: (302) 645-4279.
Marine Science Tours — Free tours of the UD College of Marine
Studies in Lewes are offered every Friday at 10:30 a.m., June through
August. Ages 12 and up. Reservations are required. Contact: (302)
Coast Day — Sunday, October 5, Lewes Campus. 11 a.m. to 5
p.m. Free admission; $2 parking. This award-winning festival features
research lectures, exhibits, ship tours, children’s activities,
a crab cake cook-off, and more! Contact: (302) 831-8083. Web: www.ocean.udel.edu/coastday
Extreme 2003 — Middle- and high-school teachers, sign up
now for this innovative educational program, sponsored by the National
Science Foundation, that will connect your students with UD marine
scientists working live at deep-sea hydrothermal vents this fall.
Register on-line at www.ocean.udel.edu/expeditions.
Contact: (302) 831-8083.
Wilmington Lunch & Lecture Series — Held periodically
from November through April, this popular lecture series highlights
the latest UD marine research over a delectable lunch at the four-star
Hotel du Pont. Cost: $15 per person. Reservations are required.
Contact: (302) 831-8083. E-mail: MarineCom@udel.edu
Sea Grant Advisory Council
Mr. William J. Miller, Jr., Chairman
Mr. Russell Archut
Mr. Jerry Blakeslee
Hon. Joseph W. Booth
Hon. George H. Bunting, Jr.
Hon. V. George Carey
Hon. John C. Carney, Jr
Hon. G. Wallace Caulk, Jr.
Ms. Carol R. Collier
Hon. Dori Connor
Ms. Sarah Cooksey
Hon. Charles L. Copeland
Ms. Marsha A. Corcoran
Mr. Richard S. Cordrey
Hon. Joseph G. DiPinto
Mr. John Dragone
Hon. Bruce C. Ennis
Mr. Gerald Esposito
Ms. Lorraine Fleming
Mr. William Grosskopf
Ms. Jeanie Harper
Mr. A. Richard Heffron
Hon. Gerald W. Hocker
Mr. John A. Hughes
Mr. James T. Johnson, Jr.
Ms. Phyllis Laffey
Mr. Spiros Mantzavinos
Hon. David B. McBride
Mr. Roy Miller
Ms. Suzanne Moore
Mr. Gary B. Patterson
Ms. Grace Pierce-Beck
Dr. Joseph Pika
Ms. Shirley Price
Hon. G. Robert Quillen
Dr. Hazell Reed
Dr. Bruce A. Richards
Mr. Jonathan Rinde
Mr. James J. Roszkowski
Dr. T. W. Fraser Russell
Mr. Edward Santoro
Mr. John Schneider
Hon. Peter C. Schwartzkopf
Dr. Edward M. Simek
Hon. F. Gary Simpson
Hon. Liane Sorenson
Ms. Maria A.Taylor
Mr. Douglas Van Rees
Ms. Trish Vernon
Ms. Julie Wagner
Ms. Katherine Ward
Mr. Stuart Widom
Sea Grant College Program
1, 2002 June 30, 2003
Federal & Other
Coastal Ocean Studies
| $ 49,866
In addition to this Sea Grant funding, Delaware investigators
successfully competed for several National Strategic Initiatives
from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
U.S. Department of Commerce. Funds for these programs are managed
by the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program and serve
as an important mechanism for the development of comprehensive and
integrated research efforts:
Under the National Fisheries Enhancement Extension Initiative, Doris
Hicks, seafood technology specialist for the Sea Grant Marine Advisory
Service, received funding to conduct training and education programs
for the seafood industry in support of controls for scombroid (histamine)
poisoning, a form of food poisoning caused by the consumption of
certain marine fish species that have experienced partial bacterial
spoilage. This 24-month effort is funded for $14,000 from September
1, 2002, through August 31, 2004.
Under the Mid-Atlantic
Fisheries Enhancement Extension Initiative, James Falk, director
of the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service, and Tracey Bryant, director
of the Marine Public Education Office, received funding to develop
several regional outreach projects working with colleagues at other
Sea Grant programs in the Mid-Atlantic. Projects range from a regional
business workshop for commercial fishermen to a public Web site
focusing on horseshoe crab research. This 12-month effort is funded
for $39,479 from June 1, 2002, through August 31, 2003.
Under the Delaware
Fisheries Enhancement Extension Initiative, James Falk, director
of the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service, received funding to support
staffing of local outreach efforts focusing on Delaware fisheries.
This 12-month effort is funded for $15,000 from June 1, 2002, through
August 31, 2003.