Delaware Estuary award

CEOE's Jonathan Sharp recognized for 'lifetime achievement'


1:45 p.m., Feb. 17, 2011----Jonathan Sharp, professor of oceanography in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment at the University of Delaware, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary at its Fourth Delaware Estuary Science and Environmental Summit held Jan. 30-Feb. 2 in Cape May, N.J.

The award, the first of its kind given by the partnership, honored Sharp for dedicating his career to the health of the estuary.

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In presenting the award, Jennifer Adkins, executive director of the partnership, said that Sharp is “without a doubt one of the top scientists in the Delaware Estuary.”

She cited his more than 30 publications specifically about the Delaware River and Bay system, which have appeared in the pages of numerous journals, including Estuarine and Coasts and Limnology and Oceanography.

In the past few years, Sharp has completed two large overview papers based on his long-term research in the Delaware Estuary, she added.

While his research has played a critical role in water quality regulation in Delaware, his work has had broad influence as well. He has developed international standards for dissolved organic carbon to better and more accurately determine global and long-term levels of the water quality indicator. Sharp also has been involved with international efforts to re-evaluate the phenomenon of eutrophication, in which a glut of nutrients leads to excess plant growth.

Meanwhile, across his career Sharp has mentored at least 22 advisees who have gone on to academic research institutions across the country as well as federal agencies such as the Naval Research Lab, state agencies and private industry. Many of these students did their master's or doctoral research on the Delaware Estuary.

“The work for which we are most appreciative at the partnership is, of course, his unwavering devotion to efforts to expand knowledge, understanding, protection, and restoration of the Delaware Estuary,” Adkins said. “Dr. Sharp's interest in the Delaware Estuary is not just about the science -- it is about turning science into passion and action.”

He was a founding member of the partnership's board of directors and its first chair and he continues to serve on its advisory committee today. He was also the founding chair of the group's Science and Technical Advisory Committee and was instrumental in creating its guiding document, the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan for the Delaware Estuary.

On receiving the award, Sharp said he was surprised and delighted with the great honor.

“I've continued along the interface between science and management on the Delaware Estuary because of the interested and dedicated group of individuals also working in this area,” he said. “A diverse group from academia, local governments, state agencies, regional agencies, local federal offices, industry, and the general public have been able to overcome different backgrounds and agendas to cooperatively develop plans and then start implementing them for an improved future for the Delaware Estuary. These plans have been based on local application of solid science with recognition of the multiple uses and values of the estuary. It has been a very rewarding activity.”

Sharp joined UD in 1973. He earned his doctorate in oceanography from Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1972.

Article by Elizabeth Boyle

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