Project WiCCED


Spring Application Deadline: January 21st, 2020

Summer Application Deadline: May 22nd, 2020

Program Dates:
Summer 2020: June 1st, 2020 – July 31st, 2020

There will be up to 9 positions available across 3 project areas:

  1. Marshgrass – Molecular Genetics and Genomics Laboratory 
  2. SensorsChemistry Laboratory
  3. OystersAquatic Health Laboratory 

Marshgrass Project Description: Current research opportunities will focus on abiotic stresses associated with sodium and nutrient uptake in marsh grass. Our goal is to understand underlying mechanisms which allow marsh grasses to withstand high levels of sodium and other nutrients in Delaware Inland bays. Undergraduate students will have the chance to work on a novel project which will include sample collection of marsh grass, DNA, RNA, and protein isolation, along with possible data mining. As marsh grass is one of the newest plant species our lab is investigating, students will be a part of discoveries which will add to intellectual and scientific merit of this study. Read more here…

Sensors Project Description: Toxic heavy metal pollution is one of the most serious environmental problems, which undermines human health and global sustainability. Therefore, there is a constant demand for the development of new analytical tools for water quality monitoring and many efforts have been dedicated to develop portable sensors for fast and sensitive heavy metal detection. Incorporation of nanoporous materials as supports into an optical chemical sensor leads to significant improvement in limit of detection and response time, as well as the sensitivity, selectivity, multiplexed detection capability and portability. In particular, fluorescent sensors such as organic dyes have gained in popularity due to their interesting features, such as high sensitivity, specificity, and reversibility. Thus, we seek to explore the potential application of mesoporous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as nanocarriers for dye payloads and the resultant dye@MOF composites will be further used as chemical sensors for the detection of heavy metal ions. The overarching goal of this proposal is to develop an understanding of the selective dye guest confinement that occurs in the nanosized MOF cavities and what kinds of chemical responses can take place there after dye molecules selectively bind heavy metals as recognition probes. Read more here…

Oyster Project Description: Our overarching goal is to distinguish between ocean, agricultural, wastewater, and atmospheric sources of the nutrients to the Delaware Inland Bays and their oyster populations. Although oyster aquaculture may be impacted by excess nutrients, it can also be a solution to mitigate this problem. We expect to see high efficiency for nitrogen removal by farmed shellfish compared to BMPs for agricultural and storm-water runoff. Current research effort focuses on understanding nutrient and salinity stresses on oysters and other species living in and around oysters. As part of the program goal, we propose to use the concentrations and isotopic compositions of dissolved and particulate carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in water, sediment, and oysters at the aquaculture sites in the Delaware Inland Bays. Following are our objectives:

1.  Obtain continuous water quality readings for dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, salinity, dissolved solids, turbidity using the sensor identified for the aquaculture site(s)

2. Analyze water quality for nutrients from water, sediment and oysters at aquaculture site(s) and restoration site(s)

3.  Monitor oyster growth and survival and compare their growth and survival for aquaculture site(s) oyster restoration site(s)

4. Assess ecological benefits of oyster aquaculture: monitor differences in pelagic and benthic aquatic species diversity and presence and absences of some of the indicator species (i.e. blue crab)

5. Identify nutrient sources to oysters: monitor nitrogen and carbon sources in the sediment, water, oyster and surrounding lands to identify what are the major sources of nitrogen and carbon in that particular site

6. Identify potential land use stressors and obstacles for the aquaculture industry

You can learn more about the WiCCED project as a whole in the video below, presented by the University of Delaware