Media Relations

Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT: Lisa Freed
561-297-3022, lfreed@fau.edu


FAU Experts on the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico


            BOCA RATON, FL (June 10, 2010) – With the latest news on the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Florida Atlantic University faculty members are available to discuss the state of the Gulf and the effects of the oil spill in regards to biology, ecology, its marine organisms, as well as in the areas of the geosciences, and civil, environmental and geomatics engineering:

FAU Representative of State of Florida Oil Spill Task Force:

  •   Dr. Leonard Berry is the director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University. His expertise areas include geomorphology, wetland ecosystems, and adaptation and mitigation of anthropogenic impacts on the environment.  He can be reached at 561-799-8554 (office) or berry@fau.edu.

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute:

  • Dr. Ed Proffitt is an associate professor in the department of biological sciences in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, and is located at Harbor Branch.  His areas of expertise lies in oil spill and restoration research in coastal (saline and brackish) marshes in Louisiana, as well as studies on how the Tampa Bay oil spill affected mangroves in the early 1990s.  He can be reached at 772-242-2207 (office) or cproffit@fau.edu .
  • Steve McCulloch is theprogram manager and rescue supervisor of the Marine Mammal Research and Conservation program at Harbor Branch.  He helped create and continues to conduct ongoing photo-ID field research surveys that cover 40 percent of Florida’s east coast, and also developed a stranding response and rehabilitation capability to care for sick and injured marine mammals. McCulloch has responded to more than 200 stranding events in Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and South Carolina.  His research interests are in population ecology, marine mammal health, rehabilitation, release and telemetry, and advancement of research technologies and education. He can be reached 772-462-0950 (office), 772-201-1535 (cell) or smccull5@hboi.fau.edu.
  • Dr. Megan Davis is the director of aquaculture and stock enhancement at Harbor Branch.  Her expertise along with the aquaculture faculty members that work at Harbor Branch includes the aquaculture of tropical and subtropical species of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks for food and stock enhancement. She can be reached at 772-242-2298 (office) or mdavi105@hboi.fau.edu.
  •   Dr. M. Dennis Hanisak is a research professor and director of education at Harbor Branch, as well as director of its Center for Marine Ecosystem Health.  His expertise areas include marine biology and ecology, with emphasis on marine plants, particularly macroalgae (seaweeds) and seagrasses, and coral reefs.  He can be reached at 772-242-2306 (office) or dhanisak@hboi.fau.edu

  • Dr. Greg O’Corry-Crowe is an associate research professor at Harbor Branch. He is a molecular biologist who has worked on oil spills in the arctic and Alaska. His main interests are in investigating interactions between marine mammals, apex predators and their environment, and the application of research findings to the conservation and management of these species. He can be reached at 772-465-2400 (office) or gocorryc@hboi.fau.edu.
  •   Dr. Shirley A. Pomponi is a research professor and executive director of the Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research, and Technology. Her expertise (relevant to oil-spill impact assessment) is in marine biology and biotechnology, with specific emphasis on sponges communities in both deep and shallow water.  She can be reached at 772-242-2449 (office) or spomponi@hboi.fau.edu.

  • Dr. Tamara Frank is an associate research professor at Harbor Branch.  Her research is on zooplankton ecology, visual ecology and deep-sea ecosystems, including those in the Gulf of Mexico.  She can be reached at 772-242-2311 (office), 772-359-0011 (cell) or tfrank3@hboi.fau.edu .
  • Dr. Brian Lapointe is a research professor at Harbor Branch.  His expertise includes the areas of nutrient pollution and coral reef ecology.   He can be reached at 772-465-2400, ext. 276 (office) or blapoin1@hboi.fau.edu.
  • Dr. Sara Edge is an assistant research faculty member at Harbor Branch.  Her area of expertise is in the field of ecological genomics of Scleractinian corals, and focuses on the development and implementation of tools from the field of molecular biology to address coral health and diagnostics. Her research focuses on how molecular processes govern the interactions between different species and guide an organism’s response to its environment. Edge is currently in the process of setting up an Ecological Genomics lab as part of the ecosystem health program, and has identified several genes indicative of coral health and developed the first stress-focused microarray used in coral diagnostic studies. She can be reached at 772-465-2400, ext. 261 (office) or sedge4@hboi.fau.edu.
  • Dr. Joshua Voss is an assistant research professor in the Marine Ecosystem Health program at Harbor Branch.  His research focuses on coral reef ecology and coral health, including emerging disease, natural and anthropogenic stressors, and integration of molecular and field techniques.  He can be reached at 772-242-2538 (office) or jvoss2@hboi.fau.edu.
  • Dr. John Reed is a research professor at Harbor Branch.  His areas of study are on coral reef ecology, both deep and shallow.   He can be reached at jreed12@hboi.fau.edu.
  • Dr. Juli Goldstein, DVM, is an assistant research professor at Harbor Branch, as well as a marine mammal veterinarian.   She can be reached at 772-465-2400, ext. 434 (office) or jgolds31@hboi.fau.edu.
  • Dr. Paul Wills is an associate research professor at Harbor Branch.  His area of expertise is aquaculture of finfish for food and stock enhancement.  He can be reached at 772-465-2400, ext. 454 (office) or pwills2@hboi.fau.edu.
  •   Dr. John Scarpa is a research professor at Harbor Branch.  His area of research is primarily invertebrate culture, especially bivalves (e.g., oysters, clams) for food and restoration purposes.  He can be reached at 772-465-2400, ext. 404 (office) or jscarpa1@hboi.fau.edu.
  • Fraser Dalgleish is an assistant research professor at Harbor Branch in the ocean engineering and technology program.  His specialties are in underwater laser imaging and communications, optical properties in marine environments, sensor networks and fluorescence imaging. He studies and develops optics and imaging systems to characterize the undersea environment and advance communications. He can be reached at 772-242-2591 (office) or fdalglei@hboi.fau.edu.

  •   Lee Frey is a research associate at Harbor Branch in the ocean engineering and technology program. His expertise is in underwater vehicles, robotics, oceanographic instrumentation, optical sensors, control and data acquisition systems, and at-sea operations. He develops sensors and sensing systems to collect data on water quality and marine species. He can be reached at 772-242-2544 (office) or cfrey@hboi.fau.edu.

  • Bing Ouyang is a research associate at Harbor Branch in the ocean engineering and technology program. His expertise is in computer vision and image understanding, signal and image processing, and underwater acoustic signal processing.  He can be reached at 772-242-2288 (office) or bouyang@hboi.fau.edu.

  •   Anni Vuorenkoski Dalgleish is a research associate at Harbor Branch in the ocean engineering and technology program. Her expertise is in fluid dynamics, marine particle dynamics, optical diagnostics of fluids and flows, fluorescence and drop-size imaging of hydrocarbon aerosols, as well as thermodynamics. She can be reached at 772-242-2477 (office) or adalglei@hboi.fau.edu.

Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters:

  • Dr. Patricia Widener is an assistant professor of sociology. Her primary research is on environmental justice and how communities, environmental organizations and/or transnational advocates respond to petroleum projects and oil spills.  She can be reached at 954-236-1079 (office) or pwidener@fau.edu .  

College of Engineering and Computer Science:

  •   Dr. Fred Bloetscher is an assistant professor in FAU’s department of civil, environmental, and geomatics engineering. His research areas include water quality changes in coastal marine waters, groundwater injection programs and occurrence and treatment of pharmaceutically active chemicals in water. Bloetscher can be reached at 561-297-0744 (office) or fbloetsc@fau.edu

  • Dr. Daniel Meeroff is an assistant professor in FAU’s department of civil, environmental, and geomatics engineering. His research areas include water/waste-water treatment processes, water chemistry, environmental microbiology, natural detoxification mechanisms and hazardous waste treatment. Meeroff can be reached at 561-297-3099 (office) or dmeeroff@fau.edu.

  • Dr. Panagiotis (Pete) D. Scarlatos is a professor and chair of the department of civil, environmental and geomatics engineering. His expertise includes ocean waves and currents, coastal processes, sediment transport, density currents, sediment quality and contamination, pollutant dispersion and diffusion, simulation and modeling. He can be reached at 561-297-0466 (office), 561-699-2579 (cell) or pscarlat@fau.edu.

  •   Dr. Manhar Dhanak is a professor in FAU’s department of ocean and mechanical engineering and director of the Institute for Ocean and Systems Engineering. He has research interests in hydrodynamics and physical oceanography and has been involved in field experiments using autonomous underwater vehicles. Dhanak serves on the board of the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) and is the chair of the Florida COOS Consortium. He can be reached at 954-924-7242 (office) or dhanak@fau.edu.

  • Dr. Chaouki Ghenai is an assistant professor in FAU’s department of ocean and mechanical engineering. His expertise includes simulation and modeling of oil spill fate and transport (advection, turbulent diffusion, surface spreading, evaporation, emulsification and dissolution); combustion of oil spills (effects of ocean waves and wind on the burning behavior of oil spills - flame structure, burning rate, amount of oil converted to smoke); and environmental effects from combustion of oil spills (source emissions characterization – carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter and air pollution dispersion modeling, or dispersion of particulate matter from the combustion of oil spills in ambient atmosphere). He can be reached at 561-297-3943 (office) or cghenai@fau.edu .
  • Dr. Stewart Glegg is a professor in FAU’s department of ocean and mechanical engineering. He is an expert on fluid structure interactions and ocean engineering. Glegg has been a member of the board of directors of the South Florida Ocean Measurement Center and the board of governors of the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education based in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at 561-297-2633 (office) or sglegg@fau.edu .
  • Dr. Tsung-chow Su is a professor in FAU’s department of ocean and mechanical engineering, and specializes in fluid mechanics and fluid-structure interactions. He has published papers related to transient loads on offshore platforms during a subsea well blowout, prediction of boat drift for search and rescue, improved marine outfall design, and dynamics of a jet-sink system to direct a jet to a sink. Su also has experience in analytical, experimental and field research, and has interest in the recovery of oil at the plume near its source subsea by a jet-sink system, separation of oil and sea water by vortex based method, and applying nano- and micro-scale technology to oxidize the crude oil to minimize contamination. Su can be reached at 561-297-3896 (office) or by email at su@fau.edu.

Charles E. Schmidt College of Science:

  •   Dr. Jeanette Wyneken is an associate professor in FAU’s department of biological sciences.  Research interests include morphological, behavioral and physiological analyses of swimming behavior in hatchlings of three sea turtle species as they undergo offshore migration, and how sea turtle visual systems differ among species. Other ongoing studies include empirical assessments of predation on sea turtle hatchlings in urban settings and studies of egg and hatchling energetics. She can be reached at 561-297-0146 (office), 561-312-4581 (cell) or  jwyneken@fau.edu.

  •   Dr. Sarah Milton is an associate professor in FAU’s department of biological sciences.

 Her recent research includes investigations into the molecular adaptations of neuronal anoxia tolerance in freshwater turtles, an examination of stress adaptations at the molecular and physiological level in Everglades fish, and several different aspects of sea turtle biology including hatchling energetics, immunology, and molecular responses to disease. She can be reached at 561-297-3327 (office) or smilton@fau.edu.

  • Dr. Dale E. Gawlik is an associate professor and director of the Environmental Science Program in the department of biological sciences.  His research is on avian ecology, wetland ecosystems, and restoration ecology, and includes the study of habitats of wading birds in South Florida.   He can be reached at 561-297-3333 (office) or dgawlik@fau.edu.

  •   Dr. Marguerite Koch-Rose is a professor in the department of biological sciences. Her
    research interests include nutrient cycling and primary production in tropical marine ecosystems, as well as marine plant ecology and ecophysiology. Her current research focuses on biogeochemical changes in tropical marine ecosystems in response to climate change and their affects on marine plant communities.  She can be reached at 561-297-3325 (office) or mkoch@fau.edu.  

  • James Gammack-Clark, M.A., is an instructor in FAU’s department of geosciences. His interests include GIS mapping. He can be reached at 561-297-0314 (office) or jgammack@fau.edu.  

    Dr. Tobin Hindle is an assistant scientist in FAU’s department of geosciences. His research interests include ecological regeneration, geographical information science, as well as web-based learning and strategies to integrate society and nature. He can be reached at 561-297-2846 (office) or thindle@fau.edu.  

  •   Dr. Zhixiao Xie is an assistant professor in FAU’s department of geosciences. His research interests include geographic image retrieval, high resolution images, spatial temporal GIS analysis, environmental health and invasive species. He can be reached at 561-297-2852 (office) or xie@fau.edu.  

  •   Dr. Scott Markwith is an assistant professor in FAU’s department of geosciences. His research interests include biogeography, biogeomorphology, population and conservation genetics, vegetation dynamics and disturbance, aquatic systems, dispersal/migration process and environmental restoration.  He can be reached at 561-297-2102 (office) or smarkwit@fau.edu.  

For FAU experts, contact Lisa Freed, assistant director of media relations at FAU, at 561-297-3022 or lfreed@fau.edu.

- FAU -

About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. For more information, visit www.fau.edu .

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