University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

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As the only subtropical research institution of its kind in the continental United States, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions since its founding in 1943. Through transformational research, dynamic interdisciplinary academics and the unwavering support and establishment of sound environmental policy, we research the Earth’s great mysteries, improve the quality of human life, and educate our students, the public, and tomorrow’s scientific leaders.


1943 - 2018












Photo: Sevag Mehterian

EDUCATION The Rosenstiel School’s main campus is located on Virginia Key, Florida. It forms part of a specially designated 65-acre marine research and education park that includes two NOAA laboratories and a nationally recognized maritime and science technology senior high school of excellence. The Rosenstiel School also operates a 78acre advanced satellite reception and analysis center in southern Miami-Dade County, a marine experimental station on Broad Key, and a teaching and research station in the Galåpagos.

ACADEMICS The Rosenstiel School offers one of the largest, most comprehensive ocean, earth and atmospheric science education programs for undergraduate and graduate students in the nation. Students are immersed in handson learning within a leading-edge research environment to become the next generation of Earth scientists. Our Master of Professional Science program is designed for students who were undergraduate science majors and provides an interdisciplinary curriculum structured to expand their applied scientific knowledge as well as professional skills. World-renowned faculty attract the best and brightest minds to study at the Rosenstiel School. Our graduates are not only accepted into science and engineering graduate programs but also into medical, veterinary, law, and business schools. They are hired by non-governmental organizations, colleges and universities, the federal government and industry, and the entrepreneurial skills they develop while studying at the school help them establish their own businesses.


Atmospheric Sciences Our research and teaching delve into almost every aspect of atmospheric sciences, from tropical meteorology and climate dynamics to the study of clouds and atmospheric chemistry. The Department of Atmospheric Sciences seeks to advance knowledge and understanding of the physical, chemical, and dynamical processes and to achieve excellence in research and education to inform the public and policy makers on how to prepare for hazards and changes in the weather-climate system.

Marine Biology and Ecology We conduct research and teaching in a diverse range of fields, including physiology, genetics, genomics, proteomics, ecology, behavior, population dynamics, connectivity, toxicology and conservation science. Our research takes us to coastal and oceanic sites near and far to study organisms from plankton to seabirds, seagrass to corals, and minnows to marlin.

Marine Ecosystems and Society The ecological, economic and cultural sustainability of marine species and ecosystems is a key conservation concern as demand for access and use of marine resources continue to increase with rapidly growing regional human populations. Research and teaching takes a system-science approach to improve understanding of the dynamical interactions of humans and marine ecosystems. We strive to provide comprehensive solutions to society’s growing environmental challenges.

Marine Geosciences Our faculty, researchers, and students conduct innovative, cutting-edge research in the geosciences, from seismology and geodesy to mesophotic reefs and paleoclimate, in a diversity of state-of-the-art laboratories and sea-going experimental campaigns. Our research is communicated to our students and to the public through community outreach and service.

Ocean Sciences We conduct research to understand the global ocean, from coastal to polar environments, using state-of-the-art analytical techniques, computer models and remote sensing. We teach the physical, chemical and biological processes occurring in the world’s oceans and at its interfaces, train the next generation of informed citizens and professional scientists, and apply our knowledge to societal challenges such as climate change and natural hazards.

Research Vessels An on-campus dock provides scientists and students with complete marine and scuba-diving facilities and access to the R/V F.G Walton Smith, a 96-foot advanced research catamaran designed for tropical oceanography and named for the school’s founder. In 2014, the Rosenstiel School added a one-of-a-kind Helicopter Observation Platform (HOP) to its fleet of specialized research vessels. Housed in an aircraft operation hangar at Miami Executive Airport, it is equipped with advanced technology that transformed a commercial aircraft into a flying scientific laboratory to collect vital information on environmental processes and mechanisms that affect our climate and impact human health.

Technology and Life Sciences Center The Rosenstiel School’s state-of-the-art Marine Technology and Life Sciences Seawater Complex includes the one-of-a-kind Alfred C. Glassell Jr. SUSTAIN Laboratory capable of simulating 3D wind-wave flow and surge produced by category 5 hurricane-force winds. The Marine Life Sciences Center, also located within the complex, provides a dedicated space to study marine animals and the critical connections between oceans and human health and the impacts of climate change on organisms and ecosystems.

Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing The Rosenstiel School operates an advanced satellite reception and analysis facility to conduct research with remotely sensed data received from Earth-orbiting satellites. The center is helping to provide vital life saving information regarding man-made and natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, rogue waves and oil spills.

Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies Since 1977, the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) has been based at the Rosenstiel School, bringing together the research and educational resources of ten partner universities to increase scientific understanding of Earth’s oceans and atmosphere within the context of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) mission. The federally supported institute provides research, education, training and outreach aligned with its mission and promotes the involvement of students and postdoctoral scientists in NOAA-funded research.


R/V F.G. Walton Smith

Helicopter Observation Platform (HOP)

National Resource for Aplysia Established by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Research Resources, this is the only place in the world where Aplysia californica are cultured and raised for research and teaching. Aplysia are valuable to science as animal models for the study of many aspects of human and animal nervous systems.

Scientific Dive Pool Our on-campus freshwater pool is one of the few facilities of its kind in the nation and plays a critical role in providing the necessary scientific diving instruction to participants in our science programs and research projects. The facility allows scientists and students to gain a deeper understanding of the marine environment and coral reefs.

Center for Carbonate Research The Center for Carbonate Research conducts studies on modern and ancient carbonate systems with a focus on tropical carbonates, including those in our backyard—The Bahamas, a modern-day analog for ancient shallow water carbonate environments. While carbonate rocks reveal the evolution of life and the biosphere as far back as four billion years, they also provide important clues on one of the most iconic carbonate systems on Earth—coral reefs. Beyond the rocks themselves, researchers at the center also work to develop new technology to support carbonate system research worldwide.

Keys Research Laboratory The School’s Broad Key Research Station, located on a 63-acre island off the coast of Key Largo, provides faculty and students with direct access to Florida’s subtropical marine ecosystem. The marine facility offers opportunities for year-round research and hands-on educational activities throughout the Florida Keys.

Marine Invertebrate Museum The Rosenstiel School’s Marine Invertebrate Museum is an internationally recognized Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species-certified research museum for Atlantic tropical marine invertebrates. The on-campus museum collection holds about 65,000 specimens belonging to 23 phyla, of which 41,273 are cataloged and identified by species, with most of the remaining identified to order or family, and which serve as exceptional research, teaching and reference tools.

Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing

Broad Key Research Laboratory

TRANSFORMATIONAL RESEARCH Weather Prediction Researchers are using state-of-the-art techniques to understand and improve real-time, day-to-day weather forecasts up to four weeks in advance and up to decades in the future. Improved weather prediction can help better prepare decision makers for hazards like heat waves, cold spells, and heavy rain as well as high-impact weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes and ice storms. Whether flying into the eye of a tropical cyclone, remotely observing the eyewall of a hurricane, or creating numerical models, Rosenstiel School scientists are at the forefront of hurricane forecasting. Using advanced tools like GPS dropsondes, Doppler radar, our helicopter platform equipped with sonic anemometers, and Earth-orbiting satellites, our researchers are helping forecasters shed light on how wind shear, ocean heat content, rain bands, humidity, and other factors influence storm intensity.

Global Climate Past, present, future – our faculty, students and scientists study the Earth’s climate from every vantage point. From paleoclimatology and changes in atmospheric chemistry, to modeling and research on sediment cores, their work addresses fundamental questions about climate dynamics and impacts on terrestrial and marine life. Researchers monitor current changes in sea level with high-resolution tools, such as remote sensing, and study the geologic record of previous sea-level fluctuations to understand the long-term effects of sea-level rise in South Florida and other coastal areas around the world. Among many other issues, we are studying the ocean’s roles in the global carbon cycle, as the world’s oceans absorb nearly half of the CO2 produced by humans annually.

Natural Hazards Our scientists use a variety of seismological and space-geodetic methods to conduct research on active processes under and above Earth’s surface to understand natural hazards and their associated risks. Our research topics include active volcanoes and tectonics, changes in the global ice masses, hydrology, and subsidence of urban and coastal areas.

Oil Spill Science The Rosenstiel School houses two important research consortiums –– CARTHE (Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment) and RECOVER (Relationships of Effects of Cardiac Outcomes in fish for Validation of Ecological Risk) –– to study how spilled oil and other pollutants are transported in the marine environment and to study the toxic effects of crude oil on mahi-mahi and other fish that reside in the Gulf of Mexico. The research is advancing knowledge on the full impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to better understand and predict the impact of future events on the marine ecosystem and coastal communities.

Aquaculture Aquaculture provides over 50 percent of the seafood for human consumption and is the fastest growing sector of food production. Through close collaboration with public and private partners, our Aquaculture Program is a global leader in the development of sustainable aquaculture production, grow-out technology and commercialization. Our academics and research are centered on innovative approaches to ensure that seafood production is environmentally sustainable and economically viable.

Marine Genomics Marine genomics researchers use cutting-edge technologies to enhance our knowledge of genes, gene expression, and genetic adaptation, thereby learning how animals work, evolve, and adapt. Studies on several species of fish are providing new insights into why genes are important for human health. By studying the role of gene expression on the health, longevity, and physiological performance of fish, researchers are focusing on gene expression and molecular mechanisms responsible for the adaptation to pollution and other toxicological stressors.

Fisheries and Marine Conservation Research The Rosenstiel School leads one of the most comprehensive marine conservation research programs on fisheries, corals and sharks. Shark research is centered broadly on behavioral ecology, conservation biology, and movement ecology. Fisheries research focuses on ecosystem modeling and management of marine fishery ecosystems. Coral reef research focuses on biology, ecology, and conservation with a particular emphasis on the impacts of climate change to understand how corals might adapt to both warming ocean temperatures and increased ocean acidification. A key component of the program is the promotion of a marine conservation ethic to public and policy audiences.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH The Rosenstiel School’s Outreach Program works in tandem with faculty to connect the University to the general public and all communities in South Florida. Outreach at the Rosenstiel School aids faculty with science proposals and with synergetic partnerships with science museums and South Florida school districts.

Citizen Science Citizens are invited to join scientists on and under the water to help restore coral reefs and study and help protect sharks. Through the Rosenstiel School’s Citizen Science Program, participants get the unique opportunity to participate in scientific inquiry with scientists working on real-time problems.

Sea Secrets Lecture Series Every year we invite the general public to learn about today’s global challenges –– from climate change to marine conservation. This series of evening programs presented by distinguished scientists and explorers at the edge of discovery is designed for non-scientific audiences.