University of Delaware
Gerhard F. Kuska, MARACOOS executive director, is handed the new UDairy Creamery "Under the Sea" flavor honoring the organization's 10th anniversary.

Ocean-inspired treat

'Under the Sea' ice cream flavor marks MARACOOS milestone

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1:37 p.m., June 24, 2015--The University of Delaware-led Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS) is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a new UDairy Creamery ice cream flavor.

Dubbed “MARACOOS Under the Sea,” the ice cream consists of a blue-colored, sugar cookie-flavored base, with graham cracker crumbs representing sand and chocolate-covered Goldfish crackers mixed in. 

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The new flavor will be available at the creamery from mid-June through early October, including an appearance at Coast Day, the annual festival hosted by UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) and Delaware Sea Grant that takes place this year on Oct. 4 in Lewes.

“We wanted to turn the traditional anniversary into something fun by celebrating with a special edition ice cream,” said MARACOOS board chair Carolyn Thoroughgood. “This light-hearted 10-year celebration is just one small way to remind the community about the important work being done by MARACOOS partners every day.”

The flavor was developed by three creamery employees who just graduated in May, according to creamery manager Melinda Litvinas.

“They were talking about how much they loved Goldfish crackers and how they could incorporate the cheddar ones into an ice cream that would taste good,” Litvinas said. “They immediately thought about making an ocean-type flavor and ‘Under the Sea’ is what they came up with.”

MARACOOS is a research and outreach program affiliated with the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN). Spanning the coast from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, MARACOOS, has more than 60 member institutions from 22 universities, including CEOE, federal and state agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and private companies. 

It is one of 11 regional observing systems that form the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (U.S. IOOS), which, in turn, is part of a growing global ocean and coastal observing network.  

Launched in 2005 with a $100,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), today MARACOOS receives more than $2.5 million annually from U.S. IOOS, which it has leveraged sevenfold, through project funding from other agencies, entities, and assets in the region.

MARACOOS has facilitated the deployment of real-time data gatherers above and below the sea surface, from robotic underwater gliders, to satellites and high-frequency (HF) radar stations. An interactive asset map is available at the MARACOOS website

More than 45 HF radar sensors measure the speed and direction of ocean surface currents — data critical to the U.S. Coast Guard’s search-and-rescue response, as well as oil and pollution spill response, and shipping safety. Other issues served by MARACOOS and its partners’ data and information products include flooding and inundation, fisheries and other living marine resources, water quality and offshore wind energy.

MARACOOS is putting the data it collects to good use, saving lives, improving flood warnings, protecting fish stocks from overfishing while strengthening fishing communities and the fishing experience, saving shipping time and fuel costs and even spawning new businesses. 

“We have come a long way in the last decade,” said Gerhard F. Kuska, MARACOOS executive director and a UD alumnus. “Our partnership is now able to provide real benefits to society that save lives, support the economy and jobs, and help us manage and care for our valuable natural resources.  We look forward to the next 10 years.”

Informational signs and brochures about MARACOOS are available in the lobby of the UDairy Creamery throughout the summer.

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson

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