Greater Everglades Research Initiative

The Greater Everglades Research Initiative (GERI) conceptual model, reflecting the research focus of the Environmental Science Program, is organized around four major human-caused stressors and the associated impacts on environmental resources. The model shows the relevance of FAU’s Environmental Science research to some of the most pressing problems in South Florida and other coastal areas. It is issue-driven and focused on aquatic systems, from their freshwater source out to the coral reefs, where many of these problems are most obvious. Humans are viewed as an integral part of ecosystems rather than separate from them; there are no ecosystems left on the planet that are unaffected by human activities. 

View the White Paper on the Greater Everglades Research Initiative

Ecosystem services

Healthy aquatic ecosystems have direct importance to humans. Although many practitioners of Environmental Science at FAU believe that ecosystems and their components have intrinsic value, defining values relative to humans also leads to good management decisions and the long term sustainability of our natural systems.

Human use

Humans use ecosystems in different ways and for different purposes. Their use is guided by ethics, culture, and economics. Research aimed at understanding these factors can help resolve environmental conflicts and lead to a more effective and efficient implementation of conservation projects and resource management decisions. The framework within which the large scale use of ecosystems by humans is governed, involves planning, public outreach and education, and ultimately policy. Understanding this framework is just as critical to effective resource management as is an understanding of biological processes.

Faculty research and education in this area draw heavily on examples from the large scale restoration and management of south Florida ecosystems. Our planning and policy expertise is sharpened by working in a setting where urban planning must be conducive to large scale restoration and management of our wetland ecosystems. South Florida's vast sensitive wetlands are directly adjacent to a large and burgeoning human population that is dependent on the same water, so South Florida is encountering sooner than most areas, unprecedented challenges in balancing human and environmental water needs. However, evidence is mounting that worldwide water conflicts are on the rise and they will continue. In other words, for many places around the world, it can be said that this is a problem coming to a town near you. Developing tools and expertise to solve such thorny water-related problems, put our faculty and students in a strong position to apply their expertise to other areas around the country, and indeed the globe.

Anthropogenic stressors

Human use of ecosystems can lead to many outcomes. Human activities that negatively affect environmental sustainability are termed stressors. In South Florida and other coastal systems, some of the worst stressors are the (1) destruction of wetlands, (2) hydrologic and climatic changes, (3) increase of contaminants, and (4) introduction of invasive species. Listed under each category are specific examples that are applicable to many areas of the world.

Research topics

The research interests of faculty in the Environmental Science Program reflect our emphasis on the freshwater and near shore marine systems, which dominate South Florida. We are strong in our ability to bring genetic and physiological tools to bear on environmental problems, as well as in our use of ecological models and GIS. We also have a number of faculty with expertise in the ecology and management of rare and endangered species, of which Florida has the dubious distinction of having more than almost any state in the U.S. The list of research topics will change often to reflect the change in our faculty membership and their evolving research interests.

Faculty

The success of the the Greater Everglades Research Initiative depends on the diverse and talented faculty doing research in environmental science at FAU. This list is not exhaustive but is rather meant to facilitate contact between our faculty and students, scientists, or agency staff with a common interest in a research topic.

 

Name Research Interest Department Email Phone Number

Dr. Rindy Anderson

 

Behavioral ecology, cognition, avian biology, bioacoustics Biological Sciences andersonr@fau.edu (561) 297-5681

Dr. John Baldwin

 

Associate Director, Center for Environmental Studies

Conservation biology and population genetics

Biological Sciences jbaldwin@fau.edu (954) 236-1151

Dr. Brian Benscoter

 

Plant ecology, linkages between community and ecosystem ecology, influence of natural disturbances on ecological systems Biological Sciences Brian.Benscoter@fau.edu (954)-236-1141

Dr. Randy Brooks

 

Behavioral/physiological ecology of marine organisms Biological Sciences wbrooks@fau.edu (561) 297-3888

Dr. Xavier Comas

 

Peatland Geophysics: Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Resistivity and Induced Polarization (IP) imaging, EM31  Geosciences xcomas@fau.edu (561)297-3256

Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully



Neurobiology of cellular stress and neuroprotection, using live cell imaging, electrophysiology, and behavior genetics. Biological Sciences ken.dawson-scully@fau.edu 561-297-0337

Dr. Kate Detwiler



Primate hybridization and speciation, molecular primatology, primate behavioral ecology, conservation of African monkeys and their rainforest habitats. Anthropology kdetwile@fau.edu 561-297-1355

Dr. Nathan Dorn

 

Freshwater ecology, community ecology Biological Sciences ndorn1@fau.edu (954) 236-1315

Dr. Niwadiuto Esiobu

 

Environmental microbiology, drug resistance, antimicrobiosis and contaminants Biological Sciences neseiobu@fau.edu (954)236-1128

Dr. Maria Fadiman

 

Ethnobotany, Llatin America, world cultures and environments ,
environmental issues, 
rain forestecosystems
Geosciences mfadiman@fau.edu (561)297-3314

Dr. Evelyn Frazier

 

Terrestrial Ecology, Conservation Biology, Plant-Insect Interactions  Biological Sciences efrazier@fau.edu (561)297-4472

Dr. Jerome Haky

 

Structure-activity relationships in gas and liquid chromatography, alumina-based chromatographic stationary phases, aluminum phosphonate complexes in solution and in the solid state, organometallic polymers as selective adsorbents, new methods for analysis of proteins, peptides and other biological compounds Chemistry hakyj@fau.edu (561)297-3338

Dr. Howard Hanson

 

Atmosphere-ocean interaction,
boundary-layer meteorology,
upper ocean processes,
climate system feedback processes,
alternative/renewable energy strategies
Geosciences; Center for Ocean Energy Technology hphanson@fau.edu (561) 297-2460

Dr. M.D. Hanisak

 

Ecology and physiology of marine plants Harbor Branch dhanisak@fau.du (772) 465-2400

Dr. Kristen Hart

 

Population-level studies of the ecology of herpetofauna and other wildlife U.S. Geological Survey hart@usgs.gov (954) 236-1067

Dr. Tobin Hindle



Ecological Regeneration, Strategies to integrate Science, Society and Nature, Geographical Information Science Geosciences thindle@fau.edu 561-297-2846

Dr. Colin Hughes

 

Evolutionary Genetics and its relationship to conservation Biological Sciences chughe@fau.edu 954-236-1156

Dr. Russ Ivy

 

Transport network analysis, economic and socio-cultural impacts of tourism, urban revitalization, regional development and planning  Geosciences ivy@fau.edu (561) 297-3295

Dr. Stephen Kajiura

 

Functional morphology & sensory biology of fishes Biological Sciences kajiura@fau.edu (561) 297-2677

Dr. Marguerite Koch-Rose

 

Marine botany and nutrient cycling in tropical systems Biological Sciences mkoch@fau.edu (561) 297-3325

Dr. Brian LaPointe

 

Algal physiology and biochemistry, seagrass and coral reef ecology, eutrophication, marine
bioinvasions, marine conservation.
Harbor Branch blapoin1@fau.edu (772) 465-2400

Dr. William Louda

 

Spatial and temporal modeling and monitoring of phytoplankton / periphyton / microalgae in marine, estuarine and fresh water aquatic systems,howardLipophilic pigments --> chlorophylls, chlorophyll derivatives, carotenoids Chemistry blouda@fau.du 561-297-3309

Dr. Daniel Meeroff

 

Solid Waste Management, Water Chemistry, Hazardous Waste Treatment, Pollution Prevention, Water/Wastewater Treatment Processes, Green Engineering College of Engineering and Computer Science; Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering dmeeroff@fau.edu (561)297-3099

Dr. Scott Markwith

 

Biogeography, biogeomorphology, population and conservation genetics 
vegetation dynamics and disturbance, aquatic systems
Geosciences smarkwit@fau.edu (561) 297-3250

Dr. Sarah Milton

 

Physiological responses to environmental stress, primarily the effects of hypoxia and anoxia on the brain, animal models of anoxia and hypoxia tolerance, neuroprotective pathways in brain anoxia, reactive oxygen species and aging Biological Sciences smilton@fau.edu (561) 297-3327

Dr. Diana Mitsova

 

Environmental modeling, climate change, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), spatial statistics, land cover change modeling, network analysis, hazard assessment. Urban and Regional Planning dmitsova@fau.edu (954)762-5674

Dr. Jon Moore

 

Ecology, evolution, and distribution of fishes, biology of deep-sea animals, conservation and biodiversity of scrub and flatwood habitats in Florida, and herpetology. Honors College jmoore@fau.edu (561) 799 -8025

Dr. Erik Noonburg

 

Ecological modeling Biological Sciences enoonbur@fau.edu (954) 236-1303

Dr. Greg O’Corry-Crow

 

Marine mammal population genetics, marine mammal movements, climate change Harbor Branch GOCrowe@fau.edu (772) 465-2400 x628

Dr. Anton Oleinik

 

 

Cenozoic stratigraphy, molluscan paleontology, paleobiogeography and paleoclimates of high-latitude regions Geosciences aoleinik@fau.edu (561) 297-3297

Dr. Edward Petuch

 

 

The geology, biostratigraphy, and invertebrate paleontology of the Floridian Peninsula and the Atlantic Coastal Plain Geosciences epetuch@fau.edu (561) 297-2398

 Dr. Colin Polsky

 

Human dimensions of & global environmental & change

Center for Environmental Studies cpolsky@fau.edu (954) 236-1104

Dr. Lianfen Qian

 

Time series analysis and regression modeling, survival analysis, environmental statistics, parameter and function estimation, weak convergence of stochastic processes and their applications to statistics. Mathematics lqian@fau.edu (561) 297-2486

Dr. Charles Roberts

 

Extracting thematic information from remotely sensed imagery, reconstruction of past environments using remotely sensed data Geosciences croberts@fau.edu (561) 297-3254

Dr. Tara Root

 

Ground water chemistry,water-rock interaction, groundwater sustainability Geosciences troot@fau.edu (561) 297-3253

Dr. Michael Salmon

 

Animal behavior, sea turtle biology Biological Sciences salmon@fau.edu (561) 297-2747

Niel Santaniello

 

Environmental journalism, news writing, web research for journalism School of Communication and Multimedia Studies nsantane@fau.edu (561) 297-1564

Dr. David Warburton

 

Environmental geochemistry, especially in interactions between the terrestrial biosphere and the environment, and possible regulation of the environment by the biosphere Geosciences warburto@fau.edu (561) 799-8648

Dr. James Wetterer

 

 

Biogeography, ecology, and environmental impact of ants,
biogeography and ecology of West Indian ants, distribution, impact, and control of exotic ants, impact of exotic ants on hatchling sea turtles in Florida
Honors College Wetterer@fau.edu (561) 799-8648

Dr. Jeanette Wyneken

 

Integrative biology, comparative & functional morphology, sea turtle biology Biological Sciences jwyneken@fau.edu (561) 297-0146

Dr. Zhixiao Xie

 

Geographic image retrieval, high resolution images
spatial temporal GIS analysis, environment health, invasive species.
Geosciences xie@fau.edu (561) 297-2852

Dr. Xing-Hai Zhang

 

Plant molecular biology and biotechnology Biological Sciences xhzhang@fau.edu (561) 297-1011