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University of Delaware professor wins Powe Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities
Date:5/25/2010

monitoring fluxes of groundwater and levels of nitrogen, a major nutrient, at several wells installed in ancient river channels (paleochannels) on the seafloor. The wells, up to 80 feet deep, are equipped with sensors that continuously log salinity, temperature, and depth.

Their objective is to identify the subsurface zones in which mixing occurs due to the tides and help determine the extent to which nutrient chemical transformations are occurring.

The project will augment a larger research effort led by Michael and supported by the National Science Foundation to determine how geology and hydrology affect the amount of bioavailable nutrients contributed by groundwater to Indian River Bay on a seasonal basis. That research involves UD graduate students Fernandez and Chris Russoniello, senior scientist Scott Andres at the Delaware Geological Survey, and colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Toledo.

"Coastal estuarine ecosystems throughout the world are increasingly threatened by eutrophication caused by excess nutrients introduced by human land use and rapidly growing coastal populations," Michael says.

"The ORAU Powe Award is great -- it gives faculty a boost, providing extra funding for our research," Michael notes. "I'm really happy about receiving the award because it enables me to extend my study to another facet of coastal eutrophication and support a graduate student on the project this summer."

Michael has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate in hydrology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She conducted postdoctoral research at the U.S. Geological Survey and at Stanford University prior to joining the UD faculty in 2008.

In addition to her work in Delaware's Inland Bays, Michael also is researching the vulnerability of groundwater to coastal sea-level rise in Bangladesh as part of a larger World Bank effort to under
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Contact: Tracey Bryant
tbryant@udel.edu
302-831-8185
University of Delaware
Source:Eurekalert  

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