delware environmental institute

Fieldwork at Assateague Island broadens students' view of the natural environment

Assateague Island National Seashore is known for its beautiful vistas and wild horses, but it also is home a wide range of flora and fauna. This fall, 23 University of Delaware students taking MAST421/461 coastal field biology spent a day in this outdoor classroom to learn about habitat by exploring and sampling the local area’s plant and animal life in the natural environment.

Accompanied by UD professors Doug Miller and Patrick Gaffney, the students toured the life of the dune trail, viewed horses and walked over the remains of a roadway originally built to facilitate development of the island as South Ocean City.

Miller lectured by the shoreline on lagoons and sea grass beds, environmental features not readily available near UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, where the course is based. A marsh walk along an elevated boardwalk provided a unique vantage point into the flooded marsh and life of the maritime forest as well.