University Partners

CIMAS has 10 academic partners working collaboratively with the National Hurricane Center (NOAA NHC), Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (NOAA AOML) and Southeast Fisheries Science Center (NOAA SEFSC).

Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) has broad marine science and engineering research capabilities and strong marine academic programs through the collective strengths in the CharlesE. Schmidt College of Science (CESCOS), College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) where NOAA’s  Cooperative Institute of Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology is based.  FAU brings forth marine science and engineering information to policy and human decision making through its School of Urban and Regional Planning in the College of Architecture, Urban and Public Affairs (CAUPA) as well as the CESCOS Center for Environmental Studies (CES) and its Climate Change Center.  Advanced ocean engineering at FAU-SeaTech includes deployment of autonomous underwater and surface platforms and SeaTech is also the home of FAU’s Center of Ocean Energy Technology which has been designated by the U.S Department of Energy as a national center for ocean energy research and development: the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center (SNMREC).

Together these FAU programs provide scientific and engineering expertise, education, as well as outreach to long-term NOAA priorities of ocean stewardship, and new emerging issues NOAA has prioritized as urgent challenges facing the nation: “energy security and sustainability; climate mitigation and adaptation; sustainable use and protection of ocean and coastal resources; and public health, safety and security.

Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Institute of Technology is an independent technological university focused on pioneering research and effective teaching, mentorship and outreach spanning a broad range of research themes closely aligned with CIMAS. These themes address issues of environmental relevance within the NOAA mission framework. Research laboratories at Florida Tech probe contemporary challenges across disciplines from marine science and robotics to oceanography & ocean engineering, remote sensing and marine biology. Specific areas of expertise comprise aquaculture, coral reef ecology, ocean & atmospheric modeling, sustainability & economics, cybersecurity, genetics, benthic ecosystems, and many more. In particular, Florida Tech’s Institute for Global Climate Change conducts studies in climate change adaptation to improve decision making from local to international levels. The Sportfish Research Institute investigates depleted populations of sport fish such as tarpon, grouper, American shad, and snapper, emphasizing species using the Indian River Lagoon as a nursery habitat. Florida Tech is a comprehensive STEM university.

Research & Academic Program Highlights:

Department of Biological Sciences (BIO): The Department expertise spans the entire breadth of biology, from conservation biology and paleoecology to plant molecular studies and chromosomal replication in bacteria. Housed in the F.W. Olin Life Sciences Building and the Harris Center for Science & Engineering, BIO contains 9 teaching and 15 modern research laboratories, multiple high performance computer facilities and the Center for High Resolution Microscopy & Imaging. Indoor aquaculture facilities are 2,500 sq ft of temperature, salinity and photoperiod controlled recirculating water systems that harbor a wide variety of aquatic species for research investigations underway.

Department of Marine & Environmental Systems (DMES): The mission of the Department focuses on the integration of oceanography, engineering, environmental & coastal zone resource management with remote sensing and meteorology for solving knowledge-based challenges. Based in the Edwin A. Link Building, investigator led research programs are being conducted in areas including fluid dynamics, wind and wave modeling, groundwater/surface water interaction, trace metal geochemistry, and underwater vehicles.

Vero Beach Marine Laboratory (VBML): Located on 4 oceanfront acres in Vero Beach, FL, this facility supports university field research on the biology of coastal organisms, and for studies of geological and physical processes of the coastal zone. Mariculture research, toxicology studies and seagrass restoration programs also take advantage of the VBML seawater and holding tank network, including both wet and dry lab facilities. Current research capabilities include hyper spectral sensing systems, invasive species assessment & mitigation, naval architecture, biofouling & corrosion, autonomous vehicles, numerical simulations of natural hazards and sediment toxicology.

Indian River Lagoon Research Institute (IRLRI): Nearly two dozen Florida Tech faculty members with decades of scientific and engineering research experience recently formed the IRLRI to improve understanding and develop solutions of lagoon flow, nutrient reduction, sediment loading and policy management with the ultimate goal to improve the Indian River Lagoon ecosystem recovery. Outreach and community education of lagoon stakeholders is vital to the IRLRI mission, as is the effective collaboration with federal and state agencies in addition to numerous academic partners.

Florida International University

The five strategic themes which guide the University’s development are International, Environment, Urban, Health, and Information. The Environment Strategic Theme is the most directly relevant to NOAA.

One of the major steps in meeting the goal set forth in the environmental strategic theme was the recent creation of the School of Environment and Society (SEAS.  The SEAS is based at the Biscayne Bay Campus but encompasses programs and environmentally-oriented faculty across the university.   The School includes the Marine Science Program, the newly consolidated Department of Earth& Environment, and centers focused on environmental issues including Southeast Environmental Research Center (SERC) which has a long-term collaborative relationship with CIMAS with respect to Everglades Restoration.   Other highly NOAA-relevant elements at FIU include the International Hurricane Center (with its Wall of Wind) a leader in studying of Tropical Cyclones’ human and economic impacts and the FIU/Applied Research Center.

Florida State University

Florida State University brings to bear a broad spectrum of expertise and capabilities of direct relevance to CIMAS. Focus areas extend from marine ecology, fisheries, ocean modeling, winds, remote sensing and meteorology to environmental law, economics, tourism, and risk assessment and remediation. FSU has unique technical capabilities including high-resolution petroleomics capabilities at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and high-performance computing. FSU also brings an explicit interconnection/overlap with another NOAA Cooperative Institute, the Northern Gulf Institute (NGI).


Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science (EOAS): Its mission is to provide high quality, innovative education that prepares, challenges, and inspires students to shape the future of earth sciences; to be an international thought leader by producing high-quality scholarly research and publishing in top-tier journals; and to increase the public understanding of our science.

Florida State University Coastal & Marine Laboratory (FSUCML): The Florida State University has operated a marine laboratory since 1949. Its mission is to conduct innovative, interdisciplinary research focused on the coastal and marine ecosystems of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, with a focus on solving the ecological problems faced by the region by providing the scientific underpinnings for informed policy decisions.

Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Studies (COAPS): Its mission is to be a center of excellence which promotes interdisciplinary research in air-sea interaction, the coupled ocean-atmosphere-land-ice earth system, and climate prediction on scales of weeks to decades in order to increase our understanding of the physical, social, and economical consequences of coupled ocean-atmospheric variations.

Florida Climate Institute (FCI): It is mission is to foster interdisciplinary research, education, and extension to (1) improve understanding of climate variability, climate change, and sea level rise on the economy, ecosystems, and human-built systems; (2) develop technologies and information for creating opportunities and policies that reduce economic and environmental risks; and (3) engage society in research, extension and education programs for enhancing adaptive capacity and responses to associated climatic risks.

High-Performance Computing (HPC): FSU supports a world-class facility for multidisciplinary research which is currently in its third phase development and has a total capacity of 25 TFLOPS of throughput. The system consists of 526 Dell PowerEdge compute nodes (2688 cores) and 13 Dell PowerEdge login nodes. All compute and login nodes have access to a 156 terabyte Panasas high-performance parallel Object Storage Device. The HPC network infrastructure is connected to FSU’s 10 Gbps campus network backbone and to the 10 Gbps Florida Lambda Rail.

Nova Southeastern University

The mission of the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center (NSUOC) is to carry out innovative, basic, and applied research and to provide high-quality graduate and undergraduate education in a broad range of marine science and related disciplines. The Center also serves as a community resource for information, research, and education on oceanographic and environmental issues. The Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, is an internationally recognized leader in several marine research disciplines, including coral reef ecosystems via its largest research component, the National Coral Reef Institute (NCRI), and marine conservation with a focus on fishes via its Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) and Save Our Seas Shark Center (SOS SC).

NSUOC, NCRI and GHRI have a special, long-term cooperative relationship with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), including a strong record of research that has produced significant data, publications, and management applications.

The new Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystem Research (CoE CRES) building at Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center, only 21 miles north of UM RSMAS and AOML/NMFS, will provide an 86,000-square-foot Research Facility to house local, national and international coral reef-related research activities. The research facility will support five main focus areas for coral reef research: 1) impacts of climate, fisheries, and pollution on coral reef ecosystems; 2) marine spatial planning, geospatial analysis, and mapping; 3) deep-sea coral reefs and biodiversity; 4) molecular biology and conservation genetics as applied to coral reefs, including reef connectivity and biodiversity assessment; and 5) the impact of ocean and coastal hydrodynamics on coral reefs. The CoE CRES will house the NCRI, GHRI and SOS SC.

University of Florida

The University of Florida (UF) is the state’s oldest and most comprehensive university, UF is among the nation’s most academically diverse public universities.  Elements expected to contribute most immediately to CIMAS include the Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering Program, the Wind Hazard Research Group, the Fishery and Aquatic Science Program and the Florida Sea Grant Program.
The Florida Coastal Monitoring Program (FCMP), consists of two separate hurricane data collection systems. Portable wind observation platforms (FCMP towers) monitor the wind fields and provide a direct measurement of the intensity of the wind near ground level. The data are transmitted to NOAA scientists (at both HRD and NHC) in real-time during landfall. The FCMP towers provide the link between the official intensity forecasts of offshore winds and actual winds experienced by structures on land.  The FCMP has measured wind data in over 20 tropical cyclones since 1999, including every U.S. land-falling hurricane in 2004 and 2005. The FCMP has also begun deploying a precipitation imaging probe (PIP) to characterize wind-driven rain in extreme winds.

Florida Sea Grant’s state-wide extension network represents a unique capability in the region. It is comprised of extension, outreach and education (EOE) professionals working with their local communities to address issues of national significance. The strategic plan of FSG is aligned with the priorities of the National Sea Grant College Program and the NOAA Strategic Plan. With its on-the-ground expertise and recognized capability as an honest broker of coastal and marine science-based solutions, FSG is poised to conduct EOE in support of core elements of CIMAS including: (a) climate change outreach and education, in particular EOE directed at local and regional adaptation strategies for sea level rise; (b) marine spatial planning; (c) sustainable fisheries; and (d) ecosystem-based coastal and marine resource management.

University of Miami (Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, RSMAS/UM)

From humble beginnings in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (University of Miami) has grown into one of the leading academic oceanographic and atmospheric research institutions in the world. The Rosenstiel School’s main campus is located on Virginia Key, Fla. and forms part of a specially designated 65-acre marine research and education park that includes two NOAA laboratories (OAR/AOML and NMFS/SEFSC), and a dedicated marine and science technology high school. The Rosenstiel School also operates a 78-acre advanced satellite reception and analysis center (CSTARS) in southern Miami-Dade County, a UNOLS research vessel (RV/Walton Smith) and the supercomputing Center for Computational Science (CSS).  The SUSTAIN Laboratory, is to be constructed at UM-RSMAS as part of a DOC/NIST award for a new facility (MTLSS). When complete, SUSTAIN will be the only wind-wave-storm surge simulator capable of generating hurricane force winds in a 3_D test environment and provides and ideal complement to the FIU/IHC Wall of Wind.

The Rosenstiel School offers one of the largest, most comprehensive marine and atmospheric graduate programs in the nation. Robust academics and in-depth scientific investigation are hallmarks of the School’s programs. World-renowned faculty members and highly regarded programs attract some of the most qualified students from diverse educational, and cultural backgrounds. More than 250 graduate students learn and work alongside professors developing state-of-the-art approaches to today’s most pressing environmental concerns. Likewise, the undergraduate curriculum is designed to take full advantage of the School’s year-round access to marine environments. Approximately 300 students are introduced to various ecosystems and Earth systems through lectures, laboratories and field trips. They are also given opportunities to earn course credits by conducting independent research under the supervision of scientists who are leaders in their respective fields.  Most recently a Masters in Professional Science program has been introduced.

University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

The fundamental mission of the Department of Marine Sciences (DMS) of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) is to increase knowledge in the marine sciences, educate graduate students, and serve the community, all of these through original research conducted by both faculty and students and by providing graduate education of excellence in the marine related disciplines. The department also conducts an outreach program aimed at providing a firsthand marine education to grade 6‐12 school children, bringing marine sciences to the community.

DMS is internationally recognized for its leadership in Caribbean marine studies, and maintains numerous research programs involving broad national and international collaborations. UPRM, holds a long‐standing collaborative agreement with NOAA involving various programs housed at the DMS: Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CRES): Integrating Science & Management in the Caribbean; Deep‐CRES: Ecology, Integrity & Status of Deep Caribbean Coral Reefs; CARICOOS /CARA, Caribbean Regional Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing System/Caribbean Regional Association; and, CCRI, the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute.

University of South Florida

The College of Marine Science is a Center of Excellence in research and graduate education for the University of South Florida and the Florida State University System. The primary mission of the College is to conduct basic and applied research in marine science. Included in the primary marine science mission is the development of new technologies and tools for exploring the coupled ocean-atmosphere-land system and facilitating economic development. Two components of the College have already been and are expected to continue to work closely with NOAA with regard to remote-sensing and technology development.


The USF Institute for Marine Remote Sensing (IMaRS), the ocean optics laboratory and the microwave satellite sensor use satellite-based sensors to examine regional to global land-ocean-atmosphere interactions and processes.

IMaRS operates a High-Resolution Picture Transmission (HRPT) ground station and an X-band earth station with real-time, full-resolution data capture capability for the SeaWiFS, NOAA Polar Orbiters, and NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites (for MODIS). MODIS direct broadcast (DB) data are captured and processed in near real-time, and archived at USF/CMS. The facility also includes computer equipment and software that allows comprehensive analysis of various other Earth remote sensing data and provides an important and unique complement to the University of Miami’s Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS).

The Ocean Optics Lab is focused on addressing coastal ocean problems using primarily optics.

The Satellite Oceanography Laboratory use satellite observations to better understand low-frequency fluctuations in sea level related to climate change.

The USF Center for Ocean Technology is dedicated to advancing technology in oceanographic research through active collaboration with the Faculty and researchers of the College of Marine Science. COT has been instrumental in the development of leading-edge biological, chemical, and physical oceanographic sensors. The technical staff of COT is comprised of electrical, mechanical and software engineers employed by the College of Marine Science. The COT technical staff possesses significant expertise in underwater vessel fabrication, acoustics, RF systems, networking, and real-time control systems.

University of the Virgin Islands

In recognition of the importance of the coastal resources to the well being of the Virgin Islands’ community, the University of the Virgin Islands created the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies in 1999. The purpose of this center is to provide the needed research expertise to address problems that have a critical impact on coastal marine ecosystems. The Center for Marine and Environmental Studies(CMES)  is one of nine individual units that make up the Research and Public Service (RPS) component of the UVI.

The mission of CMES is to advance knowledge and learning in marine, coastal and watershed systems through research, education, student training and outreach programs and to disseminate such knowledge to the academic body, scientific community, government agencies and the general public. The institution’s vision is to develop an international center of excellence in tropical ecology for the Caribbean region that will make meaningful contributions to our present and future understanding of how marine and terrestrial ecosystems function, so that they can be managed effectively.  CMES is a major player in The Virgin Islands Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCOR) which is currently entering its second phase with a focus upon coral ecosystem biodiversity and its regional societal implications.