Jul 16, 2024  
2024-2025 Florida Tech Catalog 
2024-2025 Florida Tech Catalog

Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences

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Richard B. Aronson, Ph.D., Head


Richard B. Aronson, Ph.D.; coral reefs, climate change, paleoecology, marine ecology, Antarctica

Mark B. Bush, Ph.D.; paleoecology, biogeography, Amazonian speciation, tropical conservation, wetland ecosystems

Steven M. Lazarus, Ph.D.; analysis and modeling of wind-driven waves, surface roughness, tropical cyclones, meteorology of lightning

Ronnal P. Reichard, Ph.D.; composite materials and structures, composite manufacturing

Geoffrey W.J. Swain, Ph.D.; Bjornar Hermansen Professor of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences; materials, corrosion, biofouling, offshore technology, ship operations

Ralph G. Turingan, Ph.D.; Junda Lin Professor of Marine Biology; vertebrate functional morphology, community structure of fishes, ecological morphology of feeding systems

Robert van Woesik, Ph.D.; population and community ecology of coral reefs, emphasis on mechanisms underlying large-scale patterns in coral community structure and diversity

Stephen L. Wood, Ph.D., P.E.; underwater robotics, underwater vehicles, advanced navigation, control systems and ocean energy systems

Gary A. Zarillo, Ph.D.; sediment-transport technology, coastal and estuarine sedimentation, barrier island and tidal inlet processes

Associate Professors

Charles R. Bostater Jr., Ph.D.; environmental modeling, remote sensing, estuarine particle dynamics, water quality instrumentation, environmental optics, environmental geophysical fluid dynamics, physical oceanography

Toby Daly-Engel, Ph.D.; molecular ecology, reproductive evolution, elasmobranch biology (sharks, skates, rays)

Spencer E. Fire, Ph.D.; marine mammalogy, wildlife toxicology

Andrew G. Palmer, Ph.D.; host-pathogen interactions, plant-plant signaling, chemical biology, astrobiology, algal quorum-sensing

Pallav Ray, Ph.D.; tropical climate dynamics and variability, Madden-Julian oscillations, regional climate modeling, intraseasonal oscillations, land-atmosphere interactions, urban modeling

Robert J. Weaver, Ph.D.; coastal flooding and transport, water quality, 2D/3D circulation modeling, littoral processes

Assistant Professors

Milla N. M. Costa, Ph.D.; weather forecasting and climate modeling, atmospheric remote sensing and data assimilation, natural disasters and societal impacts

Austin L. Fox, Ph.D.; concentrations and cycling of trace metals and nutrients in the oceans, estuaries and rivers

J. Travis Hunsucker, Ph.D.; applied marine hydrodynamics, frictional drag, shipping emissions, seakeeping, applied hydromechanics, experimentation in fluids

Kelli Z. Hunsucker, Ph.D.; biofouling, biofilms, hydrodynamics of marine ecosystems, diatom settlement on artificial surfaces, benthic ecology, coastal water ecology, eco-engineering, marine education

Chungkuk Jin, Ph.D.; fluid-structure interaction, ocean renewable energy, ocean infrastructure, hydroelasticity, monitoring, digital twin, machine learning

Deniz Velioglu Sogut, Ph.D.; experimental and computation approaches to extreme wave events, nearshore coastal processes and coastal resilience


Glenn A. Miller, Ph.D.; coastal ecology

Research Assistant Professor

Emily A. Ralston, Ph.D.

Professors Emeriti

Thomas V. Belanger, Ph.D.; Iver W. Duedall, Ph.D.; John G. Morris, Ph.D.; Dean R. Norris, Ph.D.; John C. Sainsbury, Ph.D.; Jonathan M. Shenker, Ph.D.; John H. Trefry, Ph.D.; Richard L. Turner, Ph.D.; Thomas D. Waite, Ph.D., P.E.; John G. Windsor Jr., Ph.D.; Andrew Zborowski, Ph.D.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences is to integrate oceanography, marine biology, ocean engineering, environmental science, ecology, meteorology, remote sensing, sustainability and related academic endeavors into an interdisciplinary search for solutions to vital contemporary issues through education, research and service. Directions of the department mirror the interests of the faculty. The spectrum of approaches in the department ranges from using the scientific method to understand particular phenomena to a more applied approach to solving specific problems. An important goal is to provide policy recommendations to improve our quality of life.


Minors in biology, environmental science, meteorology, oceanography and sustainability are offered through the department. A complete policy statement regarding minors can be found under Undergraduate Academic Information . Information about current minor offerings is available through the individual departments.


Research activities in the department are diverse. Florida Tech is a consortial member of the Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO), which provides access to ocean-going vessels and other facilities.

Ecology and Marine Conservation: Research activities include studies of past and future climate change, micropaleontology, paleoecology, biogeography, biodiversity, macroevolution and coral-reef ecology. Study locations range from local to international, including the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), the Bahamas, the Yucatan Peninsula, Panama, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, Ecuador and Peru, the Galapagos Islands, Micronesia and Antarctica.

Environmental Sciences: Research areas include effects of harmful algal blooms on marine mammals, impacts of stormwater runoff on riverine and estuarine water quality, groundwater seepage in Florida lakes, dissolved oxygen budgets in aquatic systems, trace-metal contamination of natural waters and sediments, acid deposition, trophic-state classification of lakes, trace organic contamination in coastal systems, hyperspectral remote sensing and decomposition and sedimentation of aquatic macrophytes. Research is supported by the Marine and Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, which is equipped with water and wastewater sampling and analysis equipment, a total-organic-carbon analyzer, atomic absorption spectrophotometers and scintillation counters. Florida Tech maintains boats and a laboratory facility for work in the IRL at the Evinrude Marine Operations Center, the location of the new Mertens Marine Center. 

Fish and Fisheries: Faculty and students collaborate with HBOI, FIO, and Florida Sea Grant to study climate change and the ecology of invasive fish species, as well as the implications of marine protected areas for the biology and evolution of exploited fish stocks.

Marine Biology: Faculty and students engage in integrative marine biology research. Research programs include climate-change biology, marine ecology, paleoecology, biology and evolution of fishes, including sharks and sportfish, toxicology and biology of marine mammals. Specific research includes remote sensing, laboratory and field investigations to explore the effects of climate change and disease on coral reefs, adaptations of fish to changing environmental conditions, recruitment patterns of sportfish, and the effectiveness of marine protected areas.

Marine Geology and Geophysics: Research focuses on the compositional and textural analysis of sediment and water samples.

Meteorology: Research topics in meteorology include thunderstorm electrification, coastal meteorology and tropical meteorology. Fieldwork explores the impact of the land surface on the wind and the role of wind as a driver of estuarine hydrodynamics. Atmospheric modeling simulates large-scale oscillations, urban effects on the surface fluxes of heat and moisture and simulations of deep convection associated with thunderstorm electrification.

Molecular Marine Biology and Ecology: Collaborative research among diverse faculty and students fosters the application of molecular techniques to topics such as quorum-sensing by soil bacteria and the plants that live symbiotically with corals, genetic identification of fishery populations, adaptations to climate change, marine diseases and the genetics of endangered shark populations.

Ocean Engineering: Research interests center on coastal engineering structures (breakwaters, revetments, seawalls), coastal hazards and resilience, nature-based solutions (reef balls, oysters, vegetation), coastal morphodynamics (beach erosion, barrier island dynamics), corrosion and materials, mineral exploitation in the sea, waste disposal, naval architecture and shipbuilding (including small craft), fluid dynamics, engineering and development of instrumentation, marine positioning, ocean energy and development of underwater vehicles. Ships and marine facilities, both in-house and through FIO, support activities involving coastal and offshore operations.

Oceanography: Research activities cover the spectrum of biological, chemical and physical oceanography, including studies of the plankton, benthos, benthic-pelagic coupling, transport and cycling of nutrients and contaminants in oceanic and coastal waters, tsunamis, climate change and oceanic circulation.

Sustainability and Coastal Management: Research focuses on coastal adaptation to climate change, protected areas and fishery connectivity to aid in government decision-making. Student research includes producing solar-powered and LEED-certified buildings, indicators for ecocertification programs and other applied mergers of science, socioeconomics and technology. 


    Bachelor of ScienceNondegreeMaster of ScienceDoctor of Philosophy

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