delware environmental institute

IN THE NEWS

Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

01/16/2018 -

Graduate student Meredith Kurz arrived at University of Delaware in 2015 to study marine policy because she “wanted to be directly involved in the policymaking associated with the sustainable management of our ocean and coasts,” especially as it relates to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Growing up, Kurz had always imagined she would become a marine biologist but as an undergraduate student she realized that her greatest passion was at the intersection of research and policy.

01/16/2018 -

Light is an important cue for nearly all life on Earth. Plants use light for photosynthesis, animals use light to set sleep cycles, and marine organisms use light to find food, avoid predators and even hide in plain sight. Since 2014, University of Delaware marine scientist Jonathan Cohen has been studying how winter darkness in the polar night affects biological processes and marine organisms, such as zooplankton, in the Arctic regions of Svalbard, Norway.

01/16/2018 -

Students in Jeff Buler’s Wildlife Habitat Management class saw techniques they learned in class when they travelled to the Cedar Swamp Wildlife Management Area near Smyrna to see a prescribed burn led by former University of Delaware students who now work for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources (DNREC) Division of Fish and Wildlife. Buler, associate professor of wildlife ecology in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that this is the sixth year he conducted the trip for his class. The 42 students who went got to learn how prescribed burning is used to manage grassland habitats, where technicians intentionally burn grassland fields to set back succession—the process by which a grassland becomes a forest—and keep woody plants from encroaching.

01/05/2018 -

The Environmental Protection Agency has registered BASF’s new Velondis brand biofungicide seed treatment formulations, which contain a patented University of Delaware beneficial microbe to help plants fight fungal disease. With potential applications in agriculture, horticulture and forestry, the products are designed to boost the protection of seedlings and plants from key soil-borne diseases. The bacteria in Velondis produce a beneficial biofilm and antimicrobial components that promote systemic resistance within the plant, resulting in suppression of disease organisms that attach to root systems. Two of the Velondis biofungicides have additional components that help plants produce a more vigorous root system, resulting in improved plant growth and yield potential.

12/26/2017 -

Each year in the United States, 12 million barrels of oil are used to make 380 billion single-use plastic shopping bags. On average, these bags are used for 12 minutes, but they take 500 years to break down. Students in the University of Delaware master’s seminar called Debating Marine Conservation this fall discovered single-use plastic bags are a local problem as well. Plastic bags are the second most common beach litter in Delaware (after cigarette butts). In a survey that the students conducted in Lewes, Delaware, two-thirds of people said they sometimes or always take plastic bags when shopping, but only 38 percent return them to large retailers for recycling.

12/26/2017 -

Though the world of soil science is taking strides towards gender equality, it still tends to be a male dominated field. Because of this, the University of Delaware’s Angelia Seyfferth and Samantha Ying, assistant professor at the University of California at Riverside, decided to host a “Food (and Drink!) for Thought” facilitated networking event for female soil scientists at the Tri-Societies annual conference—a gathering of the Soil Science Society of America, the Agronomy Society of America and the Crop Society of America—held recently in Tampa, Florida.

12/11/2017 -

Phil Barnes looked around the Trabant Center Theater during a break and saw exactly what he hoped to see at the University of Delaware's two-day Smart Cities and Sustainable Energy symposium. "I see two Newark City Council members talking to faculty members, we just listened to a state transportation director and now I see him shaking hands with an urban planner," he said.

12/11/2017 -

The earthquake that shook Dover, Delaware, on Nov. 30 began five miles below the earth’s surface and registered 4.1 on the Richter scale, a numerical scale that quantifies the intensity or magnitude of the event. Delaware State Geologist David Wunsch said Thursday’s earthquake was the first to be felt in Delaware since August 2011, when a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck central Virginia and subsequently reverberated through the First State.

12/08/2017 -

When conducting research in remote areas to get population estimates on elusive animals, it’s important to make sure that the camera traps which will capture images of those animals are set up properly. Once the camera traps are placed, they can’t be adjusted and the only time they’ll be looked at again is when they’re picked up at the end of the study. Thanks to the Brandywine Zoo, University of Delaware researcher Jennifer McCarthy was able to test various camera heights, distances, settings and bait and scent stations to see how to best set up her cameras for an upcoming research project looking at the elusive jaguarundi cat in Panama’s Mamoni Valley.

12/08/2017 -

Societal concerns about climate change, severe weather and rising seas are raising questions about readiness across the globe. Extreme weather events this year such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria underscore the need to be prepared. Planning for sea level rise is especially important for the U.S. Mid-Atlantic coastal region, including Delaware, due to its high concentration of population and development, critical natural ecosystems, and public infrastructure located near the coast. This region is known as a sea level rise hotspot, where rates of sea level rise are roughly twice the global average because of processes such as weakening of the Gulf Stream and land subsidence.