Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), a consortium of 98 Ph.D.-granting universities, has selected Holly Michael, assistant professor of geological sciences in the University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, to receive the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award.
The competitive award, which provides $5,000 from ORAU and $5,000 in matching funding from the faculty member's university, is intended to enrich the research and educational growth of young faculty and result in new funding opportunities.
Michael is one of only 32 recipients of the award nationwide for the 2010-2011 academic year from a pool of 114 applicants.
"Each participating university may submit only two nominations each year for the ORAU Powe Award, which is reserved for promising young researchers," says Cordell Overby, UD's associate provost for research and representative to ORAU. "We are very proud of Prof. Michael's accomplishment and look forward to great things from her in environmental research of critical interest to all of us."
The award will support Michael's research related to eutrophication -- the nutrient overloading from land runoff, septic systems, and other sources that fuels excessive primary production in aquatic ecosystems. As algae grow rapidly and then decompose, they deplete the oxygen in the water, causing fish kills and other problems.
Michael's focus is the groundwater that flows into estuaries. This hidden source of water, coming from below the ground, is a major pathway for nutrient transport. However, little is known about how groundwater interacts with surface water beneath the seafloor and the chemical changes that occur in the groundwater's nutrient payload before entering the sea.
At a study site near Holts Landing in Delaware's Indian River Bay, which has experienced severe eutrophication problems in the past, Michael and graduate student Cristina Fernandez will be
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University of Delaware