Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Michelle Afkhami's lab studies the ecology, evolution, and genomics of species interactions at scales ranging from genes to communities using a combination of long term field and greenhouse experiments, mathematical modeling, and laboratory-based molecular methods. While her lab’s research spans all types of interactions, they are especially interested in positive species associations and often work with plant-microbial mutualisms, such as rhizobia, mycorrhizal fungi, and fungal endophytes. Much of their research is aimed at understanding the mechanisms underlying how mutualisms work and integrating these associations into the broader foundations of ecology and evolution. Some of their current projects investigate: (1) the role of fungal endophytes in plant population persistence across species ranges and in the resilience of communities to wildfires in California; (2) how plant-soil feedbacks impact the demography and conservation of rare species in Florida; and (3) the genomic basis of plant and microbial performance in a tripartite interaction between legumes, rhizobia, and mycorrhizal fungi.

Professor Anthony Alfieri is a Dean's Distinguished Scholar and the Director of the Center for Ethics and Public Service in the School of Law where he leads the Historic Black Church Program. Professor Alfieri graduated from Brown University in 1981 and Columbia University School of Law in 1984. He teaches civil procedure, ethics, public interest law, social enterprise, professional liability and lawyer malpractice, and environmental justice. He has published more than 80 articles, essays, and editorials in leading journals and book anthologies. His work has been cited and downloaded more than 5,000 times in books, law journals, social science networks, and the media. At the Center for Ethics & Public Service, Professor Alfieri supervises graduate and undergraduate students working on education, research, policy, and advocacy projects in the fields of civil rights and poverty law, economic development and social enterprise, and environmental justice and public health.

Dr. Traci Ardren is Professor in the Department of Anthropology and co-teaches in the EcosystemScience and Policy program at the University of Miami. Dr. Ardren is an anthropological archaeologist interested in New World prehistoric cultures. Her research focuses on issues of identity and other forms of symbolic representation in the archaeological record, as well as how ancient people understood the natural world. She co-directs an ongoing research program at the ancient Maya archaeological site of Xuenkal, Yucatán, México where her team investigates the role of environmental resources and trade on the development of an economically dominant state centered at the urban center of Chichen Itzá. Dr. Ardren also directs archaeological research in the Florida Keys aimed at exploring issues of political relations and environmental adaptation over time with special emphasis on the changing experience of coastal fisherfolk during the evolution of social hierarchies prior to European contact. She has received funding from the National Science Foundation and National Geographic, and her research has been published in The Holocene, Antiquity, World Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, etc. Her most recent book is Social Identities in the Classic Maya Northern Lowlands: Gender, Age, Memory, and Place with University of Texas Press (2015). Occasionally Dr. Ardren teaches an archaeological and environmental field school over spring break at prehistoric archaeological sites within Everglades National Park.

Dr. Andrew Baker is an Associate Professor at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and co-teaches in the Ecosystem Science and Policy program. His research applies genetic tools to understand how reef corals adapt to environmental change, and combines laboratory experiments on corals with fieldwork on reefs around the world. Andrew has a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences (Zoology) from Cambridge University (1993), and a Ph.D. in Marine Biology and Fisheries from the University of Miami (1999). He is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation and a former Fulbright Scholar from the United Kingdom.

Natalie Barefoot is the Practitioner in Residence and Lecturer in Law for University of Miami School of Law’s Environmental Justice Clinic. She teaches clinical classes and is the clinic’s supervising attorney managing projects ranging from toxic torts to policies and practices that inequitably affect low-income and minority communities in Florida. Before joining the University of Miami Environmental Justice Clinic and faculty, Natalie Barefoot was the Executive Director of Cet Law where she worked to further the protection of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and their ocean and freshwater habitats. Professor Barefoot earned her J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law, where she was the Executive Editor of the University of Miami Law Review and a Miami Scholar.

Dr. Kenneth Broad is Director of the Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy and Professor and Chair of the Department of Marine Ecosystems and Society at UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Additionally, he holds a joint appointment at Columbia University where he served as Co-Director of the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions. Kenny received his anthropology from Columbia University in 1999.  Working around the globe, Dr. Broad has directed major interdisciplinary efforts to study diverse aspects of human and environmental interaction, including climate impacts and human perception, the use and misuse of scientific information, decision making under uncertainty, and ecosystem based management.  He has participated in extreme scientific and filmmaking expeditions on every continent - from studying cocaine distribution patterns to venomous snakes to the deepest caves on the planet - to gather information and samples that shed light on little known environmental and cultural subjects.  He regularly collaborates with ecologists, climatologists, hydrologists, psychologists and a host of other strange ‘ologists’. Kenny, along with the late Wes Skiles, was awarded the 2011 National Geographic Explorer of the Year for their work in the underwater caves of The Bahamas, which appeared as a cover story in National Geographic Magazine.  Broad also received the National Geographic 2006 Emerging Explorer Award and was elected a Fellow National of the Explorers Club in 2009. Kenny is a member of the National Geographic Society Expedition Council Advisory Board and is on the board of advisors for several non profit organizations.

Dr. José Maria Cardoso da Silva joined the Department of Geography and Regional Studies at the University of Miami in August 2015. Before joining the University of Miami, Dr. Silva was researcher at the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi and professor in four Brazilian universities (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Universidade Federal do Pará, Universidade Federal da Paraíba and Universidade Federal do Amapá). He also worked for 14 years for Conservation International, one of the largest global conservation organizations, and as Executive Vice President (2011-2014) he oversaw conservation programs in Latin America, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. His research agenda integrates concepts, methods and insights from ecology, biogeography, environmental geography, political ecology, economic geography, and political geography to find ways tropical countries can improve the living standards of their citizens while conserving their extraordinary biodiversity and building resilience to climate change. Current projects are focused on sustainable development in Amazonia and Caatinga, two of the largest South American ecological regions.  Dr. Silva has published +100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters as well as one book. He has also co-edited seven books and advised 25 graduate dissertations. His papers cover from biological systematics to environmental policy and were published in journals such as Nature, Journal of Biogeography, Bioscience, Conservation Biology, Oikos, Biodiversity and Conservation, and the Bulletin of the Linnean Society of London. Dr. Silva is Fellow of the American Ornithologist’s Union and the Linnean Society of London.

Dr. G. Chris Cosner is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics and faculty advisory committee member and collaborator in the Abess Center. He has been at U.M. since 1988. Dr. Cosner received a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a member of the Institute for Theoretical and Mathematical Ecology (ITME) at U.M. and has participated in developing and teaching an interdisciplinary graduate course on mathematical models in ecology as part of a curriculum developed by the ITME.

Dr. William Drennan is a Professor of Applied Marine Physics at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, where he has worked since 1997. Dr. Drennan received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of Waterloo in 1989. His current research focuses on processes at the air-sea interface and includes aspects of both climate change and hurricanes. He also has interest in development issues, having served on the board of director's of the development agency USC Canada.

Dr. Douglas Fuller is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Regional Studies and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and College Diversity in the College of Arts and Sciences. He co-teaches in the Ecosystem Science and Policy program. Dr. Fuller specializes in remote sensing, biogeography, and climate change and uses imagery from weather and other satellites to map and monitor patterns of forest fragmentation, tropical deforestation, wildfires, invasive species, and other phenomena related to human impacts on the biosphere. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Neil Hammerschlag is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Miami, a joint position between the Rosenstiel School and the Abess Center. Dr. Hammerschlag's current research interests focus on understanding how predator-prey interactions structure communities, particularly those involving sharks. He is also founder and director of the Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami. The mission of the program is to advance ocean conservation and scientific literacy by combining cutting edge research and outreach activities. He has also worked in collaboration with the National Parks Service to establish a unique virtual distance education project to bring ocean exploration into classrooms via live online interactive wireless communications.

Dr. Brian Haus co-teaches in the Ecosystem Science and Policy program and is a Professor of Applied Marine Physics and Director of the Air-Sea Interaction Saltwater Tank (ASIST) Facility at the Rosenstiel School. His expertise is in experimental studies of air-sea interaction and wave dynamics. He is the Principal Investigator of laboratory-based studies sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) on wind-wave coupling and hurricane dynamics and their effects on coastal structures. He is also leading efforts to understand wave-current interactions through innovative coastal radar systems that are operated as a part of the Integrated Ocean Observing System. In an interesting application of this type of experimental capability, Dr. Haus is working with researchers of the UM Center for Oceans and Human Health to understand bacterial transport on recreational beaches. This research will be greatly enhanced by the new Marine Technology and Life Sciences Seawater building on the RSMAS campus for which Dr. Haus spearheaded a successful $15 M grant to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Dr. Keene Haywood is the Director of the Exploration Science program and Senior Lecturer in Marine Ecosystems and Society at the Rosenstiel School. His background is a combination of media production, conservation, and geospatial and educational technology research. His interests intersect the humanities and natural sciences with a particular focus on the implementation of effective uses of technology in the field to gather data, document research, and disseminate discovery to the general public. In the past, Dr. Haywood has worked on deep ocean ROV projects, film projects for National Geographic's Explorer and Wild Chronicles series, and field projects for The Nature Conservancy and Earthwatch. He has held positions at the University of Texas at Austin, the New Media Consortium, National Geographic, and The Nature Conservancy. He holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin, an MFA in Science and Natural History filmmaking from Montana State University, an MA in Marine Affairs and Policy from RSMAS, and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Miami. He was elected to the Explorers Club as a National Fellow in 2007 and currently sits on the ESRI Education Community Advisory Board and the board of the PAST Foundation.

Professor Denis Hector co-teaches in the Ecosystem Science and Policy program and is Associate Dean and Associate Professor in the School of Architecture. His teaching areas include Design, Structures and Theory of Technology, Environment and Green Building. He is the Co-Chair of the Abess Center Faculty Advisory Committee.

Dr. Gary Hitchcock co-teaches in the Ecosystem Science and Policy program and is a former Associate Professor and Co-Chair of the Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries at the Rosenstiel School.

Dr. Terri Hood is the Assistant Director of the Ecosystem Science and Policy (ESC) Undergraduate Program and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geological Sciences. Her research interests include chemical processes occurring in coastal sediments (kinetics of pyrite oxidation in marine systems) and development of new methods in electron microscopy. Her research in the last decade has focused on deciphering human impacts in coastal environments using sediment records. Dr. Hood's particular areas of study have included the Everglades/Florida Bay ecosystem and the Mississippi River outflow region in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Dr. James Klaus co-teaches in the Ecosystem Science and Policy program, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences, and a Post Doctoral Associate in the Division of Marine Geology and Geophysics at the Rosenstiel School.

Dr. Naresh Kumar is an Associate Professor of Environmental Health in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, and Adjunct Faculty at Brown University and the University of Iowa. He specializes in geospatial methodologies and technologies for quantify and characterize exposure to socio-physical environment, and pursuing an active and highly interdisciplinary research agenda. Dr. Kumar's research is supported by NIH, EPA, and NSF, which currently fund three complementary aspects of his research: health outcomes, exposure modeling, and methodology, respectively. This allows him to investigate the linkages between health and environment comprehensively in both developing and developed countries. Dr. Kumar has published widely in environmental health journals, including Atmospheric Environment, Environment Science and Technology, and Social Science and Medicine.

Dr. David Letson co-teaches in the Ecosystem Science and Policy program and is Professor and Chair of the Division of Marine Affairs and Policy at the Rosensteil School for Marine and Atmospheric Science, where he has worked since 1995. Dr. Letson's research focuses on natural resource economics, with particular emphasis on the economics of extreme weather and climate variations. Specifically, he is interested in the value of predictions from the geosciences and in how those predictions are interpreted and used. A critical part of Dr. Letson's research has been the process of team formation and collaboration since it has enabled him to move beyond isolated studies of parts of weather and climate problems to a more systemic view. Living in Miami, on a barrier island no less, Dr. Letson is well acquainted with hurricanes and hurricane forecasts. As an economist, he is interested in the value of hurricane forecasts and mitigations. Short-sighted and narrow conceptions of the human relationship to the natural environment have prevented nations like the U.S. from reducing their losses from hurricanes and other natural hazards. He is a member of NOAA's Hurricane Forecast Socioeconomic Working Group, a panel convened by the National Weather Service and the Office of Atmospheric Research to develop a hurricane social science research agenda. Letson recently testified before the Florida Legislature on the possible economic effects to Florida's economy if the hurricanes of the 2004 season were to strike again in 2008. Dr. Letson's other main interest is the economics of climate. He studies the value of climate prediction for agricultural and water resources management in the southeastern US and Argentina, as part of the Southeastern Climate Consortium, which represents eight universities (Alabama-Huntsville, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Miami, North Carolina State, Florida and Florida State). Climate predictions, like free advice, may not always seem relevant or transparent to their intended audience. The over-arching theme of Letson's climate research is that climate risk must be assessed within the specific economic, institutional, land tenure, and technological contexts in which they occur.

Professor Joanna Lombard co-teaches in the Ecosystem Science and Policy program and is an architect and Professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture with a joint appointment in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine. Her undergraduate degree is from Tulane University and her graduate degree is from Harvard University. As a member of the UM Built Environment Behavior & Health team, with grants from RWJ, NIMH, NIEHS, and NIA, she has studied built environment impacts on children and elders with results published in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters, and she has just completed a HUD study which examines Medicare/Medicaid data in relation to walkable neighborhoods. In partnership with AIA Miami, ASLA Florida, and the Florida Dept. of Health Miami Dade, she, Scott Brown (UMMSM), and Maria Nardi (Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces) have been designated as one of eleven university-based teams selected as charter members of the American Institute of Architects Design & Health Research Consortium. With Denis Hector, she has an architectural practice that focuses on healthy places.  She collaborated with Xavier Iglesias and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk of DPZ on the design of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Visitor Center in Coral Gables, and with Professor Rocco Ceo, developed an exhibition and publication, The Historic Landscapes of Florida, studying twenty-seven historic landscapes throughout the state of Florida that was supported by grants from the University of Miami Orovitz Awards in the Arts and Humanities and the Deering Foundation. She is also the Co-Chair of the Abess Center Faculty Advisory Committee.

Gina Maranto directs the undergraduate program in Ecosystem Science and Policy and coordinates the graduate program in Environmental Science and Policy. She received her M.A. from The Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University in 1980, and her B.A. in English Literature from Pomona College in 1977. She is a prize-winning science writer who has covered the environment, earth sciences, and biomedicine at the national level since 1982. Her articles, opinion pieces, and reviews have appeared in Discover, The Atlantic Monthly, Scientific American, The New York Times, and other publications. Her cover piece for Discover on climate change won the National Association of Science Writers Award for best magazine piece of 1986 and limned the major issues that remain of interest today with regard to that subject. She is author of Quest for Perfection (1996), a history of attempts to alter birth outcomes and a critique of assisted reproductive technologies. She served as director of the English Composition program at UM from 2005 to 2011.

Dr. Imelda Moise is a health geographer and a mixed-methods researcher of issues affecting vulnerable populations. Her research focuses on the two-way links between health disparities research, and linking research to practice or policy. Her scholarly work has focused primarily on addressing health disparities and vulnerabilities as it relates to: health care and utilization; geographical targeting of resources, food environments; maternal, child and adolescent health in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeastern United States and Illinois. Prior to UM, Dr. Moise worked as a Geographical Information Systems (GIS)/Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Advisor at John Snow Inc.’s International Division where she supported USAID funded health programs in supported low-middle income countries on various scopes of work relating to M&E, national assessments, indicator development, system strengthening, RHIS, implementing partner coordination, etc., and five years as a Research Program Specialist in Illinois coordinating federally funded research projects and program evaluation for state agency initiatives and ongoing programs, and six years as a Peace Corps technical trainer in Zambia. She has authored and co-authored peer-reviewed publications, guidance documents and presentations at various conferences and symposia.

Dr. Renato Molina is an engineer and economist specializing in environmental and resource economics. His work focuses on topics at the intersection between game theory, sustainability, and institutional settings. He holds a position as Assistant Professor in Environmental and Resource Economics at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and the Department of Economics at the University of Miami.

Dr. Donald Olson co-teaches in the Ecosystem Science and Policy program and is Professor of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. He received a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Physical Oceanography from Texas A&M University , and a B.S. in Physics from the University of Wyoming . He currently serves on the U.S. WOCE Steering Committee. Dr. Olson's interests include ocean circulation dynamics, mesoscale phenomena, theory and observation of ocean frontal zones; drifter and satellite remote sensing studies of the surface circulation, tracer dynamics; processing studies of biophysical interactions and ecosystem modeling.

Dr. Cameron Riopelle is the Data Services Librarian / Assistant Professor for the University of Miami Libraries. He receivied his Ph.D. in Sociology, Master's in Statistics, and Master's in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interests include quantitative and qualitative methods, theories of colonialism and the state, and the study of educational systems. In additional to his background in statistics and social scientific methods, Cameron has expertise in oral history and historical-archival research. He has also been actively involved in field archaeological and and historical archaeological projects, and projects that use mixed methodologies. 

Dr. Kathleen Sealey co-teaches in the Ecosystem Science and Policy program and is Associate Professor in the Department of Biology.

Dr. Christopher Searcy's lab group focuses on conservation ecology, the use of ecological principles to improve understanding of basic ecological theory while also informing decisions about how to conserve and manage threatened or endangered species. The lab will concentrate especially on community ecology and landscape ecology, recognizing that while conservation may focus on individual species, it is important to protect ecological communities as a whole, and that all species exist in landscapes where habitat quality varies through space.. Searcy emphasizes fieldwork: only through observing natural populations is it possible to understand how species persist individually and in concert while also dealing with environmental stochasticity. Searcy’s previous research has focused on amphibians and aquatic invertebrates.

Dr. Meryl Shriver-Rice is the director of Environmental Media at the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, and affiliated faculty in the Department of Anthropology. She developed and teaches for the Master's Program in Environment, Culture & Media. Dr. Shriver-Rice teaches graduate courses in technology & human behavior, visual anthropology, environmental communication, and contemporary media representations of the environment. As both a visual anthropologist and palaeoethnobotanist, her interdisciplinary background includes degrees in Anthropology, Biology, Archaeology, and Communication. Her European archaeological work investigates the archaeobotanical evidence for paleoecology, prehistoric agriculture, and trade in consumables amongst the pre-Roman Etruscan city-states of modern day Tuscany. She is also a member of the Coastal Heritage At Risk Task force (CHART) addressing the challenge of salvaging, preserving, and conserving thousands of historic and archaeological sites at risk from sea-level rise along Florida’s vast coastline. Her current media studies research focuses on the intersection of science communication, digital culture, environmental activism, and corporate branding in shaping societal values and perceptions of the environment.

Dr. Justin Stoler is Assistant Professor of Geography and Public Health Sciences. His research explores the geographic patterns of urban health disparities, particularly in the developing world, and environmental influences on social and behavioral epidemiology. He uses spatial modelling techniques to integrate household survey data, GIS layers of municipal infrastructure, and remote sensing data, and has conducted field work in multiple countries. He has worked in Accra, Ghana, for several years exploring links between neighborhoods, the environment, and infectious diseases. His courses integrate GIS and geographic frameworks with contemporary population, environmental, and global health issues.

Dr. Peter Swart co-teaches in the Ecosystem Science and Policy program and is Professor and Chair of the Division of Marine Geology and Geophysics at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Dr. Swart was educated in the United Kingdom attending the University of Sheffield (B.Sc in Natural Environmental Science) and King's College, University of London (Ph.D in Geology). While in London he supplemented his income working on hit films such as 'The Shining' as well as duds such as 'Holocaust 2000' and 'The Mummy' as well as writing articles for 'On Your Bike'. Unable to find gainful employment he started a posdoctoral position at the University of Cambridge working on the stable isotopic composition of extraterrestrial material with Colin Pillinger.

Dr. John Van Leer co-teaches in the Ecosystem Science and Policy program and is Associate Professor of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. He received a Sc.D. in Physical Oceanography from the M.I.T/W.H.O.I. joint program in Oceanography and a B.S. from Case Institute of Technology in Mechanical Engineering. He designed and tested re-entry missile guidance systems at M.I.T. Instrumentation Laboratory (now Charles Stark Draper Lab) at the peak of the Cold War. Dr. Van Leer's interests include Arctic Ocean measurements under sea-ice, and continental shelf measurements, especially in upwelling regions, including surface and bottom boundary layers. He developed and used autonomous moored profilers, called Cyclesondes, which have measured repeated profiles for months and reported data in real time by telemetry in diverse environments around the world. He led the effort at RSMAS to design the first oceanographic research vessel capable of sail/solar/electric hybrid operation and stabilized robotic sensor deployments. Dr. Van Leer is a member of the Science and Technology Committee for Miami-Dade County Climate Change Task Force. He has campaigned for carbon dioxide reductions with the Union of Concerned Scientists on Capitol Hill. Dr. Van Leer is also on the Board of the Urban Environment League with interests in mass transportation, renewable energy and green building. He spearheaded construction of a system of safe bicycle paths along the Rickenbacker Causeway requiring an additional lane on all three bridges. Dr. Van Leer is co-advisor to Living the Green Life student organization and advocates for Sustainable Living Practices whenever possible.

Dr. J. Albert Uy  is the Aresty Chair in Tropical Ecology at the Department of Biology. His work explores the origin and maintenance of biological species, with a special emphasis in tropical birds. He uses a combination of long-term field and experimental data with genetic and genomics approaches to understand how populations diversify to create new species. His field sites include Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Australia, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands (where he teaches a field course on island ecology, evolution and conservation). Because Uy's work explores biodiversity, his research is intimately tied to grass roots conservation work in the Solomon Islands, where unique low-land rainforests are threatened by clear-cut logging.