delware environmental institute


Environmental news from Delaware and the surrounding region.

10/20/2009 -

Delaware has a fragile coastal ecosystem, a long history of industrial production and agricultural land under pressure from increasing residential and commercial development.

As a consequence, the state faces a range of environmental challenges: Excess nutrients have resulted in algal blooms and fish kills in waterways; particulate release has polluted the air; climate change is contributing to a rise in sea level and marshland decline; industrial activity has contaminated the soil; and a growing population requires the redevelopment of urban brownfields.

At the same time, Delaware is in an ideal position to pilot research strategies to address these issues. The First State has a track record of effectively identifying, prioritizing and acting on difficult issues and valuable opportunities, and its small size and constancy of purpose enable effective communication and issue resolution among key stakeholders.

Team to study human effect on watershed
10/19/2009 -

Research will chart carbon cycle in 565-square-mile Christina River basin


AVONDALE, Pa. -- The narrow creek that runs behind the Stroud Water Research Center has witnessed plenty of changes over the centuries.

Hundreds of years ago, early settlers cleared trees and vegetation to build their homes. Later, the area became a cow pasture. Today, as Stroud scientists restore the forest, the creek bank is dotted with skinny, pale green tubes that protect young trees from strong wind and harsh weather.

The changes can be seen in the soil that makes up the creek bed. Scraping aside leaves and other debris with a small shovel, Stroud scientist Anthony Aufdenkampe reveals a swath that looks like a layer cake -- two lighter stripes separated by a chocolate-colored center strip.

UD's Byrne receives 2009 AIA Sustainability Award
10/16/2009 -

John Byrne, University of Delaware Distinguished Professor of Energy and Climate Policy and director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, is the recipient of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Delaware 2009 Sustainability Award.

Byrne accepted the award from AIA Delaware President Kevin W. Wilson during the Sustainable Delaware 2009 Conference, held Thursday, Oct. 15, in Clayton Hall. The conference also included a free public workshop session on Friday, Oct. 16.

Based in Washington, D.C., with 300 state and local chapters, AIA has been the leading professional membership association for licensed architects, emerging professionals, and allied partners since 1857.

The award presentation also included remarks by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, James L. Ford III, mayor of Lewes, and State Sen. Harris McDowell III, who chairs the Senate Energy and Transit Committee.

Oh, brother, it's true: Plants can recognize their siblings and now we know how
10/14/2009 -

Plants may not have eyes and ears, but they can recognize their siblings, and researchers at the University of Delaware have discovered how.

The ID system lies in the roots and the chemical cues they secrete.

The finding not only sheds light on the intriguing sensing system in plants, but also may have implications for agriculture and even home gardening.

The study, which is reported in the scientific journal Communicative & Integrative Biology, was led by Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware.

10/02/2009 -

The University of Delaware has launched a new Environmental Portal, a central Web site that provides future and current students, faculty, staff and the public a chance to connect with the numerous environmentally focused programs offered by UD.

New Critical Zone Observatory seeks to answer climate change questions
10/02/2009 -

The University of Delaware, in collaboration with Stroud Water Research Center in Avondale, Pa., has received a $4.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish the Christina River Basin as a new “Critical Zone Observatory” for researching questions relating to climate change.

Scientists define the “critical zone” as the portion of the planet from the treetops to the groundwater that sustains terrestrial life.

The observatory is one of only six in the United States. It is funded through a competitive, five-year grant awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Historic bill lets electric car owners sell back to the grid
09/22/2009 -

The University of Delaware was a major player at a Monday, Sept. 21, event that marked the launch of the first vehicle-to-grid (V2G) electric cars made in Delaware and the signing of Senate Bill 153 by Gov. Jack A. Markell, which rewards owners of V2G technology for plugging in.

The event was held at AutoPort Inc. near Wilmington, which retrofitted a Toyota Scion that was on display. Another star of the show was the University of Delaware's eBox V2G vehicle, which was developed by vehicle-to-grid pioneer Willett Kempton, professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE).

The bill, which Markell said was the first of its kind in the world, compensates owners of electric cars for electricity sent back to the grid at the same rate they pay for electricity to charge the battery.

Sparks to lead Delaware Environmental Institute; launch set Oct. 23
09/21/2009 -

Donald L. Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair in soil and environmental chemistry at the University of Delaware, has been appointed director of the Delaware Environmental Institute, which will be officially opened on Friday, Oct. 23, at the University's Newark campus.

The Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) is a multidisciplinary institute focused on providing solutions to global environmental challenges through knowledge-based partnerships that integrate environmental science, engineering and policy.

DENIN will be closely allied with the colleges at UD and other educational institutions in the state. Institute research will initially focus on three areas: Processes at the air, land and sea interface, environmental forecasting and restoration, and ecosystem health and sustainability.

Federal stimulus spurs science and technology development at UD
09/16/2009 -

University of Delaware researchers have won over $41 million in federal stimulus funds, to date, for leading-edge science, engineering, and technology projects with the potential to create jobs and foster long-term economic growth. The University has received the funds through competitive grants awarded by federal agencies as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), enacted by Congress in February.

As of Sept. 15, a total of 36 projects involving UD faculty have been funded by ARRA grants, according to Mark Barteau, senior vice provost for research and strategic initiatives.

UD inventors develop diagnostic tool for trees
09/15/2009 -

An invention by a University of Delaware doctoral student can provide information about the biological and physiological characteristics of trees that will yield valuable information for forest scientists and ecologists.

The LaserBarkTM, an automated instrument for the measurement of bark microrelief, was developed by John Van Stan, a Ph.D. candidate in geography, in conjunction with his adviser, associate professor Delphis Levia, and a mechanical engineering consultant, Matthew Jarvis.