University of Delaware
The Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes is open for public tours this summer, including a stop at a new exhibit highlighting scientists’ ocean research.

Ocean science tours

Award-winning exhibit enhances public tours offered at UD's Lewes campus


1:53 p.m., May 14, 2014--Vivid underwater images of diving penguins and deep-sea tubeworms capture the dynamic nature of the world’s oceans in a new exhibit open to the public at the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.

Visitors can view the award-winning, 200-footlong display, which highlights research conducted by scientists in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) and the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, on free tours offered this summer from June 6 through Sept. 5.

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The museum-quality exhibit transports visitors from the ocean depths to shallow waters to the coastline, with explanations of researchers’ work along the way. The wall mural and informative panels received a 2014 American Inhouse Design Award from Graphic Design USA, ranking the display among the top 15 percent of more than 4,000 entries. 

“I combined over 100 high-resolution images into a seamless underwater representation of some of the diverse habitats and marine life found in our seas,” said Tamara Beeson, art director in CEOE’s Environmental Public Education Office. “The resulting effect is intended to inspire visitors to learn more about ocean environments.” 

From frigid waters in the Arctic to hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the sea, CEOE researchers travel the globe exploring the world’s oceans — with the scientific laboratories in Lewes as their home base. Research projects underway include studies on penguin populations, deep-sea adaptations, coastal marshes, seafloor changes and renewable energy.

The new exhibit features unusual fish and crustacean specimens pulled from the deep, as well as two aquariums containing marine life found in Delaware Bay. Visitors also learn how scientists are working to address local issues, such as the impacts of rising sea levels on Delaware’s coast. 

Touring groups stop by the Global Visualization Lab for a demonstration of how researchers use Google Earth, satellites and underwater robots to examine ocean properties. Nearby, visitors can see the University’s 2-megawatt wind turbine that powers campus buildings and assists studies in wind energy development. The campus is also headquarters for UD’s marine operations, where several ships are docked while not out on the Atlantic for research cruises.

Visitors are encouraged to ask questions of the experienced, specially trained tour guides, who volunteer their time to share their enthusiasm for marine science. 

In June, tours begin at 10 a.m. on Fridays. In July and August, tours begin at 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with one additional tour on Sept. 5. For required reservations, call 302-645-4234 or e-mail

Tours meet in the Cannon Laboratory on the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus, located at 700 Pilottown Road in Lewes, Delaware.

About UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment

UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) strives to reach a deeper understanding of the planet and improve stewardship of environmental resources. CEOE faculty and students examine complex information from multiple disciplines with the knowledge that science and society are firmly linked and solutions to environmental challenges can be synonymous with positive economic impact. The college brings the latest advances in technology to bear on both teaching and conducting ocean, earth and atmospheric research. Current focus areas are ecosystem health and society, environmental observing and forecasting, and renewable energy and sustainability.

About Delaware Sea Grant

The University of Delaware was designated as the nation’s ninth Sea Grant College in 1976 to promote the wise use, conservation and management of marine and coastal resources through high-quality research, education and outreach activities that serve the public and the environment. UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment administers the program, which conducts research in priority areas ranging from aquaculture to coastal hazards.

Article by Teresa Messmore

Photos by Ambre Alexander Payne

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