Research and Faculty experts

Faculty Experts - Research at RSMAS - U Link

Special Report on Climate Change Highlights UM Research

Debuting in advance of Earth Day, the University of Miami’s Climate Change Special Report, developed by University Communications, features more than 40 articles on science and research; dozens of interviews with UM faculty, alumni, and students; and social and interactive engagement with polls, graphics, and an opportunity for you to write your own haiku to the environment.   
Visit to get the full report. NEW report: Climate impacts on health

Research at RSMAS

The University of Miami's Marine Technology & Life Sciences Seawater Complex will open at the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science soon. The new complex will provide research and teaching laboratories in two critical areas: air-sea interactions and biology of living marine organisms, including a wind-wave-storm surge simulator capable of generating Category 5 hurricane-force winds in a three-dimensional test environment, a state of the art tool, unique in the World.

University of Miami - Marine Technology & Life Sciences Seawater Complex

U Link - University of Miami Laboratory for Integrative Knowledge

The world’s most compelling and difficult problems are complex. Addressing the challenges of climate change, for example, requires thinking about weather patterns, relationship of disease and environment/diet, coastal architecture, energy use, city planning, human communication, the role of truth in media, international relations, big data and many other fields. U-LINK seeks applications from interdisciplinary teams that may combine researchers from across UM’s three campuses.

“We encourage proposals that tackle problems aligning with the University’s strategic plan, such as addressing environmental challenges, engineering smart/connected cities, promoting health and wellness, cultivating a culture of belonging, and applying the potential of big data to global issues.” U Link

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FACULTY EXPERTS by subjects and programs: 


The Coral Reef Futures Lab - Rescue a Reef
A major research theme is the complex and dynamic relationship between corals and their algal symbionts (“zooxanthellae” in the genus Symbiodinium), to better understand how corals might adapt to both warming ocean temperatures and increased ocean acidification in the coming decades. The University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School's coral conservation program is designed to build community and coastal resilience through coral reef research, restoration, and citizen science.

The Future of Flight – College of Engineering
With technology developed at the University of Miami, aerospace engineer Ge Cheng Zha hopes to usher in a new era of urban air transportation. “It is important that we develop green aviation for the future because our highway infrastructure just won’t be able to keep pace with population growth,” Dr. Zha

The Center for Urban and Community Design
is part of the UM School of Architecture and fosters a collaborative interdisciplinary approach that supports the people, places and processes essential for creating and sustaining family oriented and environmentally responsible communities as near as West Coconut Grove and as far as Mexico. The CUCD promotes a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that supports creation, preservation and retro-fitting of resilient / sustainable communities and buildings by integrating research, teaching and service, encouraging inter-disciplinary thought and action in the areas of resiliency, sustainable design and development, historic preservation and civic engagement

Smart Cities - U-School of Architecture and the Center for Computational Science are collaborating on their newest focus area, designed to create services and training involving Smart Cities concepts. A ‘smart’ city is one that uses digital technologies to address and manage Well Being (Healthcare)/Quality of Life/Ageing; Operating Costs (Infrastructure); Resource Allocation and Consumption; Citizen Participation and Governance; Education; Transportation and Development; Information and Communication Technologies Growth and Access; Natural Resources and Climate Change (Energy Governance); Human and Social Capital; Public Safety.

The Climate Studies Group

The Climate Studies Group at the UM Rosenstiel School involve faculty members from all six Rosenstiel School divisions (Applied Marine Physics, Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry, Marine Affairs and Policy, Marine Biology and Fisheries, Marine Geology and Geophysics, Meteorology and Physical Oceanography). Research and course work are designed to address fundamental questions about the Earth’s climate and its impacts on society using a broad range of approaches.

Research Institutes: The Clean Energy Research Institute at the College of Engineering, University of Miami, led by Hongtan Liu, Ph.D., professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, focuses on issues of clean energy sources. The Clean Energy Research Institute houses the Dorgan Fuel Cell Laboratory. The lab focuses on fuel cell and other clean energy technologies.


Geology – Paleoclimate, Sea Level Rise

Larry Peterson, Ph.D., associate professor of Marine Geology, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Phone: 305-361-4692 or 305-284-6821
Dr. Peterson focuses his research on the reconstruction of past oceans and climates from evidence in the fossil record. He is available to discuss climate history. 

John Southam, Ph.D., professor of Geology in the College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 305-284-1898
Dr. Southam uses his extensive physics and mathematics background to model such geologic phenomena as: the development of carbonate platforms, anoxic events in the world's ocean, changes in chemistry and circulation of oceans, burning of fossil fuels and the effects on climate, and the variations in rate of sedimentation due to climate changes and changes in distributions of ancient land masses.

Harold R. Wanless, Ph.D., Professor and Department Chair of Geological Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 305-284-4253 
Dr. Wanless has an active research program, funded by the National Park Service, the National Biological Survey, and NOAA to document hurricane effects on coastal environments; also to document the Holocene and historical evolution of the mangrove coastal wetlands and anthropogenic effects on coastal and shallow marine environments. He has studies Florida’s geology ad it relates to sea level rise. 


Climate Change

Amy C. Clement, Ph.D., assistant professor of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Phone: 305-361-4846
Her research interests focus on the fundamental questions about the behavior of the climate system. How sensitive is the Earth's climate to external forcing? Is abrupt change a characteristic of the climate? What are the mechanisms of climate change? Several of these questions arise out of the paleoclimate record. In addition to observed major swings in global ice volume over the past 600,000 years (the so-called ``Ice Ages''), there are superimposed abrupt changes that can happen on the order of decades. The paleoclimate record gives us an idea of the dramatic range of climate behavior that is "natural." It is essential to understand the mechanisms behind these changes in order to put our present climate into the proper context, and to understand and predict how the climate may change in the future as anthropogenic greenhouse gases increase. 

Meteorology -- Water Vapor, Clouds

Brian Soden, Ph.D., associate professor of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Phone: 305.421.4916
Dr. Soden’s research strives to better understand the role of atmospheric hydrologic processes in governing climate and climate change through the use of satellite observations and mathematical models of Earth's climate.

Biology -- Fisheries, Forests and Coral

Andrew C. Baker, Ph.D., assistant professor of Marine Biology and Fisheries at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Phone: 305.421.4642
Dr. Baker studies the symbiotic relationship between corals-algae with specific objectives of understanding corals adaptive response to climate change. In addition, his research strives to better understand the biology and ecology of coral reef ecosystems for improved conservation efforts. His current geographic areas of study include: western Atlantic (Florida, Brazil, Belize, Bermuda, Bahamas), Indian Ocean (Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Zanzibar), Red Sea and Arabian Gulf (Israel, Saudi Arabia), western Pacific (Australia, Indonesia, Japan), central Pacific (Hawaii, American Samoa, Line Islands, Fiji), far eastern Pacific (Panama, Galapagos).

Andrew Bakun, Ph.D., professor of marine biology and fisheries at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Phone: 305.421.4986
Dr. Bakun studies the physical-biological interaction in the ocean with the specific interest of quantifying the effects of climate variability on marine ecosystems and populations and designing effective multidisciplinary fisheries--environment research approaches.

Chris Langdon, Ph.D., research associate professor of Marine Biology and Fisheries at theRosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Phone: 305.421.4614
Dr. Langdon studies coral and algae primary production, respiration and calcification and response of corals and coral reefs to global change tropical marine ecosystems. He recently co-authored a NCAR report on acidification of the oceans and its effect on coral reef ecosystems.
Sharon L. Smith, Ph.D., professor of marine biology and fisheries at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Phone: 305.421.4819
Dr. Smith studies the ecology of zooplankton in highly productive ecosystems and strongly physically forced oceanic environments such as upwelling areas, polar regions and coastal zones. These studies include population dynamics, community structure and spatial distribution of zooplankton in the Bering Sea, East Greenland Sea, Arabian Sea and California Current; feeding ecology of crustacean omnivores in the New York Bight; reproductive biology and life history strategies of copepods in the New York Bight, California Current, Greenland Sea and Arabian Sea. Smith is also known for her climate change research involving zooplankton and consequent food web changes in the warming Arctic. Dr. Sharon Smith, received a Fulbright Scholar Award to spend nine months in Oman teaching and studying zooplankton changes during the monsoon season, especially as they relate to global warming models that forecast important changes to the marine food web there.

Leonel Sternberg, Ph.D., professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 305-284-6436
Dr. Stenberg studies the question of whether tropical forests are carbon sinks or sources of carbon. His research strives to better understand predictions on whether or not tropical forests will become sources or sinks with climate change and how photosynthesis and respiration will change with climate. 

Geography -- GIS

Douglas O. Fuller, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Geography and Regional Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 305-284-6695 
Dr. Fuller specializes in remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), land-cover change, and human-environment interactions mainly in Southeast Asia and Africa. He uses imagery from weather and other satellites to examine climatic change, natural hazards, and patterns of biodiversity and habitat loss. His recent research projects include mapping desertification trends in West Africa, analysis fires and deforestation in Indonesia, and the use of high-resolution satellite imagery for characterizing urban/suburban environments.

Shouraseni Sen Roy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Geography and Regional Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 305-284-4820
Dr. Sen Roy research includes the study of long term trends in different climatic variables. Over the past few years, she has been working on the spatio-temporal patterns of precipitation across the Indian subcontinent. She uses advanced statistical analysis and GIS techniques to analyze trends in different climate variables. Research projects include: The impact of global teleconnections on the summer precipitation in India; The trends in the occurrence of extreme precipitation events in India; Diurnal patterns in the timing of winter precipitation occurring over United States; Impact of cloud cover on the diurnal temperature range in India. 

Chemistry – CFCs and Dust

Rana A. Fine, Ph.D., professor of Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Phone: 305.421.4722
The objective of Dr. Fine’s research group is to understand the role of the oceans in climate change occurring on time scales of up to decades. The research involves understanding the physical processes that determine the capacity of the oceans to take up atmospheric constituents, such as carbon-dioxide. On time scales of decades, there are two main physical processes that affect the way the oceans and atmosphere interact. First is by direct air-sea exchange, where we use satellite and direct oceanographic observations to map the global air-sea flux of carbon dioxide. Then once the atmospheric gases are in the oceans, we study how fast they mix. We participate in several international Global Change programs. Our contribution includes the measurements of two chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to study the rate at which the world's oceans circulate. Although the major fate for CFCs is the stratosphere, a small amount dissolves as a gas in the surface waters of the ocean. The CFC concentrations are used to infer the rate at which atmospheric gases are mixed into the ocean interior.

Joseph M. Prospero, Ph.D., professor of Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Phone: 305.421.4159
Dr. Prospero’s aerosol group focuses on the aerosol chemistry of the marine atmosphere and the biogeochemical effects of the long range atmospheric transport of materials from the continents to the ocean environment. Starting 35 years ago, we pioneered in the study of mineral aerosol (soil dust) transport, showing that huge quantities of dust were carried by winds from arid regions to the oceans. Dust has a great impact on the chemistry of the atmosphere, oceans and sediments. Indeed, our work served as the foundation for the recent interest in the role of windborne iron as an important limiting nutrient in many ocean regions. Working with modelers and using satellite remote sensing, we are developing a much better picture of dust sources, dust properties, and the effects of climate on dust transport

Ocean Policy and Climate

Kenny Broad,Ph.D., assistant professor of marine affairs and policy in the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Phone: 305.421.4851
Dr. Broad studies ecological anthropology, climate and society interaction, and environmental policy.
He holds a joint research scientist appointment at Columbia University and was named the 2006 National Geographic Emerging Explorer. 
Alternative Energy Engineering/ Fuel Cells

Hongtan Liu, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Dorgan solar lab in the UM College of Engineering, focuses his research on fuel cells, solar energy and hydrogen energy technology. Dr. Liu is available to discuss the technical aspects and useful applications of fuel cell technology.
Phone: 305-284-2019

Ramarathnam Narashimhan, “Dr. Ram” Ph.D., research assistant professor of mechanical engineering and associate dean of the College of Engineering, focuses his research on computational fluid mechanics and waste management. Dr. Ram is available to discuss various aspects of alternative fuel technology.
Phone: 305-284-3100

Michael R. Swain, Ph.D., associate professor and associate chair in the department of mechanical engineering, focuses his research on alternative fuels and internal combustion engines. Dr. Swain is available to discuss the different types of alternative fuels available and their applications. 
Phone: 305-284-3329

T. Nejat Veziroglu, Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering at the College of Engineering, is a world-expert on hydrogen energy and environment. He focuses his research on hydrogen energy, and environmental and economical problems related to the forthcoming conversion to Hydrogen Economy during this century. Dr. Veziroglu is available to discuss various aspects of hydrogen energy technology and issues related to energy and the environment.
Note: Dr. Viziroglu is presently on sabbatical in Turkey and can be reached via e-mail. Please contact the University of Miami Media Relations office at 305-284-1601 for assistance in contacting him by phone.
Phone: 305-284-4666

Carl Snyder, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, UM College of Arts and Science, can discuss the chemical component of gasoline additives and why they are costly to consumers. He is also available to discuss the chemical differences between grades of gas. 
Phone: 305-284- 6111 

Political & Economic Conditions

Jorge Piñon, senior research associate, University of Miami, former president of Amoco Oil Latin America, with 30 years of experience in international energy market. He can speak on world oil prices, and world supply-demand issues, as well as local market conditions.
Phone: 305-284-2822
Cell: 305-926-6910