THE UNivERsiTY OF Miami, founded in 1925, is a private, coeducational teaching and research institution noted for its extensive study-abroad programs, marine science institute, and medical center. The university confers bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional degrees in a broad range of academic disciplines including the arts and sciences and marine science. The main campus is in Coral Gables, Florida, and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) is located on Virginia Key on Biscayne Bay.
The university's undergraduate programs related to climate change include ecosystem science and policy and geological sciences. Ecosystem science and policy covers a range of environmental issues from various perspectives. The geological sciences program is taught in the College of Arts and Sciences; the major includes themes of Earth origins, environmental preservation, global dynamics, and internal and surface processes. A special aspect of the geological sciences program is an option for a five-year B.S./M.S.
program coordinated with RSMAS to complete the graduate portion of the education.
The Rosenstiel School was established in 1940 on the Coral Gables campus and moved to Virginia Key on Biscayne Bay in 1957 after outgrowing its initial location. RSMAS is now a 16-building complex and home to a museum with a collection of approximately 400,000 invertebrate specimens, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center, NSF/NIEHS Oceans and Human Health Center, and the Division of Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry. Research facilities include advanced technology computing and laboratories with precision instruments (mass spectrometer, X-ray spectrograph, gas chromatograph, and a scanning electron microscope).
RSMAS's Division of Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry is a graduate program offering master's and doctoral degrees in chemical processes of the atmosphere and chemical processes of the ocean and hydrology. Fieldwork plays a major role, and the department's small size ensures student access to faculty, staff, and research opportunities.
The teaching/research facilities include chemical laboratory instrumentation, a laboratory onboard a cruise ship for collecting marine and atmospheric data, a 90-ft. research catamaran, and a simulation wind and wave tank for observation of specific air/ sea interactions. RSMAS's library holds an extensive marine science collection.
Research opportunities are diverse as a result of having a faculty with a wide range of expertise and research interests. Faculty members from the six divisions at RSMAS (Applied Marine Physics, Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry, Marine Affairs and Policy, Marine Biology and Fisheries, Marine Geology and Geophysics, and Meteorology and Physical Oceanography) are working on research related to changing climate impact. A sampling of climate-related studies include the Southeast Climate Consortium (using advanced forecasting tools for agriculture, forestry, and water resources management in the southeastern United States), water resource management in the drought-prone state of Ceara in northeast Brazil (human response to climate change), and climate and fisheries (how changes in sea-level pressure, sea surface temperature patterns, and global mean temperature affect fish stocks).
The Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) is a research institute of the University of Miami located in the RSMAS. CIMAS serves as a mechanism to bring together the research resources of the university with those of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to perform research for understanding the Earth's oceans and atmosphere within the context of NOAA's mission.
The scientific activities in CIMAS are organized under broad research themes. The themes are topics of climate variability, fisheries dynamics, regional coastal ecosystem processes, human interactions with the coastal environment, air-sea interactions and exchanges, and integrated ocean observations; their scientific objectives are guided by NOAA's Strategic Plan and its specific goals in the context of the research activities and expertise resident in the university and the local Miami laboratories of NOAA.
The University of Miami is setting an example for public and private sectors, as when the president of the university joined other college presidents and chancellors around the country in taking a community leadership role and modeling ways to minimize global warming emissions and integrate sustainability into the curriculum and university environment, via membership in the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.
sEE ALsO: Atlantic Ocean; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Oceanography.
bibliography. Edward B. Fiske, Fiske Guide to Colleges 2005, 21st ed. (Sourcebooks, 2004); University of Miami, "Research at Rosenstiel School," www.rsmas.miami.edu.
Lyn Michaud Independent Scholar
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