Jun 21, 2024  
2018-2019 Florida Tech Catalog 
2018-2019 Florida Tech Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences

Richard B. Aronson, Ph.D., Head

Degree Programs

Biological Sciences, Ph.D.  
Conservation Technology, M.S.  
Earth Remote Sensing, M.S.  
Ecology, M.S.  
Environmental Resource Management, M.S.  
Environmental Science, B.S.  
Environmental Science, M.S.  
Environmental Science, Ph.D.  
Fisheries and Aquaculture, B.S.  
General Biology, B.S.  
Marine Biology, B.S.  
Marine Biology, M.S.  
Marine Conservation, B.S.  
Meteorology, B.S.  
Meteorology, M.S.  
Ocean Engineering, B.S.  
Ocean Engineering, M.S.  
Ocean Engineering, Ph.D.  
Oceanography, B.S.  
Oceanography, M.S.  
Oceanography, Ph.D.  
Sustainability Studies, B.S.  

Undergraduate Minor Programs

Biology Minor  
Environmental Science Minor  
Meteorology Minor  
Oceanography Minor  
Sustainability Minor  


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.

Kevin B. Johnson, Ph.D., benthic and water-column ecology, invasive species, planktonic grazing and distributions, estuarine restoration, predator-prey interactions.

Steven M. Lazarus, Ph.D., analysis and modeling of wind-driven waves, surface roughness, data assimilation, meteorology of lightning.

Kenyon C. Lindeman, Ph.D., sustainable coastal policy and climate adaptation, reef-fishery conservation, applied system sustainability.

George A. Maul, Ph.D., Atlantic tsunami mitigation, marine meteorology, climate and sea-level change, maritime natural hazards, physical oceanography, remote sensing.

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

Geoffrey W.J. Swain, Ph.D., materials, corrosion, biofouling, offshore technology, ship operations.

John H. Trefry, Ph.D., trace-metal geochemistry and pollution, geochemistry of rivers, global chemical cycles.

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.

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.

David J. Carroll, Ph.D., molecular basis of signal transduction in fertilization of marine invertebrates.

Andrew G. Palmer, Ph.D., host–pathogen interactions, plant–plant signaling, chemical biology.

Prasanta K. Sahoo, Ph.D., naval architecture, numerical modeling, computational fluid dynamics, propulsion, wave dynamics and hydrodynamics of high-speed craft.

Jonathan M. Shenker, Ph.D., finfish aquaculture, biology and ecology of early life stages of fishes, environmental toxicology.

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

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

Assistant Professors

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

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

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

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

University Research Professor

Thomas D. Waite, Ph.D., P.E.


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

Research Assistant Professors

Kelli Z. Hunsucker, Ph.D.

Emily A. Ralston, Ph.D.

Professors Emeriti

Thomas V. Belanger, Ph.D.; Arvind M. Dhople, Ph.D.; Iver W. Duedall, Ph.D.; Charles E. Helmstetter, Ph.D.; John G. Morris, Ph.D.; Dean R. Norris, Ph.D.; John C. Sainsbury, Ph.D.; Richard L. Turner, Ph.D.; Russell C. Weigel, Ph.D.; Gary N. Wells, Ph.D.; 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 in 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 of solving specific problems. An important goal is to provide policy recommendations to improve our quality of life.


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


Research activities in the department are diverse. Some areas of research are pursued in collaboration with the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution of Florida Atlantic University (HBOI). Florida Tech is also 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, paleobotany, paleoecology, biogeography, biodiversity, macroevolution and coral-reef ecology. Study locations range from local to international, including the Indian River Lagoon, the Bahamas, the Yucatan Peninsula, Panama, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Galapagos Islands, Micronesia, Peru 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 for fieldwork at the Envinrude Marine Operations Center.

Fisheries and aquaculture: Faculty and students collaborate with HBOI, FIO, Florida Sea Grant and the aquaculture industry to conduct research on spawning and culturing commercially and recreationally important fish and invertebrate species, developing stress-resilient fingerlings for grow-out in different aquaculture systems, and developing ‘green’ aquaculture. Fisheries research includes assessment of essential habitats, stock-enhancement of depleted populations, electronic and satellite tracking of fish movements, and assessment of the implications of marine protected areas for the biology and evolution of exploited 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 such as sharks and sportfish species, 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 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 fertilization, 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, 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 HBOI and 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 eco-certification programs and other applied mergers of science, socio-economics and technology.