Tag Archive | "rosenstiel school of marine and atmospheric science"

UM-Based Consortium Awarded $125M for Marine and Atmospheric Studies


UM-Based Consortium Awarded $125M for Marine and Atmospheric Studies

UM News

The Surge-Structure-Atmosphere-Interaction, or SUSTAINfacility

The Rosenstiel School’s new SUrge STructure Atmosphere INteraction (SUSTAIN) facility, which can simulate surge produced by category 5 hurricane force winds, will now be available to NOAA through CIMAS.

MIAMI, Fla. (May 20, 2015)—The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) up to $125 million to fund the consortium’s activities over the next five years. CIMAS, which is based at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, brings together the research and educational resources of ten partner universities to increase scientific understanding of the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere within the context of NOAA’s mission.

The renewal award and increase in funding was based upon an “Outstanding” rating CIMAS received during the current award period’s performance review (2010-2015) by a NOAA Science Advisory Board subcommittee. Under the new cooperative agreement, Florida Institute of Technology has joined the Florida and Caribbean-based university consortium, which includes Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Florida State University, Nova Southeastern University, the University of Puerto Rico, the University of Florida, the University of South Florida, and the University of the Virgin Islands.

“CIMAS has rapidly grown in recent years and now serves a much broader NOAA community in addressing NOAA’s climate, weather, and ecosystem goals,” said Peter Ortner, CIMAS director and research professor at the Rosenstiel School.

The cooperative institute’s current research priorities, which include improved hurricane forecasting, facilitating the implementation of ecosystem-based ocean management, prediction of climate on increasingly short time scales, and support of the Global Ocean Observing System, are expected to continue over the next five years.

Unique new research facilities now available to NOAA through CIMAS  include the Rosenstiel School’s SUrge STructure Atmosphere INteraction (SUSTAIN) facility, which is capable of simulating 3D wind-wave flow and surge produced by category 5 hurricane force winds, and Nova Southeastern University’s Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research.

The renewed partnership allows investigators from UM and partner institutions to receive NOAA, as well as other federal agency, support for research projects, and facilitates collaboration with NOAA scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, National Hurricane Center, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, as well as other NOAA facilities and cooperative institutes nationwide.  NOAA currently supports 16 cooperative institutes that promote research, education, training, and outreach aligned with its mission and promotes the involvement of students and postdoctoral scientists in NOAA-funded research.

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UM Showcases Innovations at eMerge Americas Conference

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UM Showcases Innovations at eMerge Americas Conference

By Andres Tamayo
UM News


As conferees learned, the arms of the Da Vinci Xi robot can pick up small objects–and perform precise surgeries.

MIAMI, Fla. (May 5, 2015)—Victor Cruz, a computer engineer with Goverlan, Inc., sat with his head down and eyes focused in a 3-D simulator for the da Vinci Xi surgical robot at the Miami Beach Convention Center last Monday.

Gina Avellan, a representative for the robot, stood to his right, facing a crowd that had gathered to watch one of many simulated surgeries throughout the day. “Now, with your left hand, grab the rubber ring and place it here,” she said as she circled a ring on a raised screen for the group of visitors to see. “Good,” she exclaimed as Cruz impressively completed the task.

The Xi robot, a four-armed behemoth developed to help surgeons perform precise surgeries, is currently being used by UM surgeons and is one of the University’s most prized possessions.

“It’s mind-blowing,” Cruz said as he paused from the excitement of completing his first surgery. “It’s mind-blowing how natural the movements are. I would have never thought that a robot’s motion would be that natural.”

Xi, as it is commonly called, was one of many innovations that UM showcased at the second annual eMerge Americas technology conference May 1-5.

UM also displayed state-of-the-art work being conducted at the School of Architecture, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and the Center for Computational Science (CCS) with the Office of Civic and Community Engagement. The School of Architecture featured an interactive social media coffee table that attracted tweets and Instagram posts based on certain hashtags embedded in coffee cups.

The Rosenstiel School boasted a fish tank full of mahi-mahi fry while the School of Business Administration showcased entrepreneurship and The Launch Pad, an on-campus accelerator that offers advice to UM students and alumni looking to start their own companies. The Office of Civic and Community Engagement and CCS demonstrated the Miami Affordability Project (MAP)—showing off a drone used for mapping cities in need of new infrastructure—for Julian Castro, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and JPMorgan Chase representatives. Chase is the lead funder of MAP, a free, publicly accessible tool developed by the Office of Civic and Community Engagement to visualize neighborhood-level housing market dynamics and develop data-driven community development strategies.

The conference, which aims to make Miami the technology hub of the Americas, was expected to attract 10,000 local, national, and international visitors over the five days. It is quickly becoming a showcase for businesses, higher education institutions, and others wanting to explain and explore the latest trends occurring in the technology and health sectors.

Various UM officials and faculty spoke during breakout sessions on May 4, including Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc; Architecture Dean Rodolphe el-Khoury; Eugene Anderson, dean of the School of Business Administration; and Norma Kenyon, chief innovation officer at the Miller School of Medicine. They spoke about the challenges Miami faces to attract and keep entrepreneurial talent in South Florida.

“We need to help our students learn to be entrepreneurs, and you can’t do that without creating a culture of entrepreneurship,” LeBlanc said.

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Study Finds Natural Oil Dispersion Mechanism for Deep-Ocean Blowout


Taken from BP footage, this picture of oil and gas spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from the Macondo blowout was captured at 4,840 feet on June 3, 2010, seven weeks after the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

MIAMI, Fla. (April 1, 2015)—In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and the University of Western Australia observed how oil droplets are formed and measured their size under high pressure. Simulating how atomized oil spewing from the Macondo well during the Deepwater Horizon accident reached the ocean’s surface, they suggest that the physical properties of deep water create a natural dispersion mechanism for oil droplets similar to the application of chemical dispersants at the source of an oil spill.

“These results support our initial modeling work that the use of toxic dispersants at depth should not be a systematic oil spill response,” said UM’s Claire Paris, associate professor of ocean sciences. “It could very well be unnecessary in some cases.”

The research team from the Center for the Integrated Modeling and Analysis of the Gulf Ecosystem, or C-IMAGE, conducted eight experiments to simulate different pressures of oil from a blowout at depth. The oil was placed in a high-pressure chamber, called a sapphire autoclave, and monitored using a high-speed, high-resolution camera to evaluate how droplets form at varying turbulent conditions.

“This is the first time that we’ve been able to visually monitor how droplets break up and coalesce at up to 120 times atmospheric pressure,” said Zachary Aman, associate professor of mechanical and chemical engineering at the University of Western Australia. “When paired with the high pressures and flow rates of Macondo, the results suggest a natural mechanism by which oil is dispersed into small droplets.”

The results of the laboratory experiment were applied in a field-scale simulation under the same physical conditions that existed during the Macondo well blowout. In the computer simulation, the team tracked the oil released at a constant rate of 1,000 oil droplets every two hours at a depth of 300 meters above the Macondo well, corresponding to the depth of the observed deep plume, from April 20 to July 15, 2010, when the Macondo well was capped; droplets were tracked for an additional 24 days after the cap was in place.

Based on the experimental data and modelling, the researchers suggest that the use of chemical dispersants may have reduced the mean oil droplet diameter from about 80 to 45 micrometers, which would have reduced the amount of oil reaching the surface only by up to 3 percent. The model simulations showed that if the blowout occurred in shallow water conditions, or at a smaller rate of hydrocarbon release, dispersant may have had a more significant impact on the oil flowing from the well.

Already available online, the research paper, titled “High-pressure visual experimental studies of oil-in-water dispersion droplet size,” will be published in the May 4 edition of the journal Chemical Engineering Science. In addition to Paris and Aman, the coauthors include David Lindo-Atichati of the UM Rosenstiel School, and Eric F. May and Michael L. Johns of the University of Western Australia.

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Rosenstiel School Hailed as A Hero for Marine Conservation

UM News

Roni Avissar, dean of the Rosenstiel School, accepts the 2015 Florida House Conservation Award from Bart Hudson, CEO and president of Florida House on Capitol Hill.

Roni Avissar, right, dean of the Rosenstiel School, accepts the 2015 Florida House Conservation Award from Bart Hudson, CEO and president of Florida House on Capitol Hill.

MIAMI, Fla. (March 18, 2015) – From coral reef restoration efforts to a sustainable aquaculture program to research that sheds new light on the important role that apex predators play in our ocean ecosystems, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science has been recognized for its conservation initiatives with the 2015 Florida House Conservation Award.

Presented to Rosenstiel School Dean Roni Avissar during a ceremony held at Northern Trust in Miami on Wednesday, the award honors extraordinary commitment and work in protecting the environment. It was established by the Florida House on Capitol Hill, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and information center that is the only state embassy in the nation’s capital.

During Wednesday’s award ceremony, made possible by Northern Trust, the Rosenstiel School was cited for its marine conservation efforts in three areas: a coral restoration project that propagates threatened staghorn coral in underwater nurseries to create a sustainable source of healthy colonies for use in restoration activities; an Aquaculture Program that plays a key role in aquaculture development, consultation and participation, technology transfer of marine fish hatcheries, and grow-out for commercial operations; and its RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, which conducts field and laboratory studies in Florida, the Bahamas, and elsewhere to better understand the role of marine predators and the potential cascading effects of their declines on fish communities.


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Plankton Trackers Discover New Info to Reveal Past Climate


Plankton Trackers Discover New Info to Reveal Past Climate


Taken from sediment cores, these pelagic foraminifera contain the history of water temperature in which they lived.

MIAMI, FLA.(March 18, 2015)—A new study from an international team of scientists uncovered new information about the tiny, globetrotting organisms commonly used to reconstruct past climate conditions. The findings can aid in improving our understanding of past global climate conditions.

Using the Connectivity Modeling System, a state-of-the-art biophysical computer model developed by Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science scientist Claire Paris, the researchers showed that some of the tiny ocean organisms, known as foraminifera, drifted significantly before falling to the seafloor and being fossilized. Others may not have drifted much at all, according to the currents in the region where they were found and the lifespan of the species.

“The model used in the study traced the temperature history of the planktonic forams drifting in the ocean as they grew their tiny shell,” said Paris, associate professor of ocean sciences. “It enabled the team to look at the origin of the shells that eventually sank to the seafloor.”

The team discovered that some foraminifera are transported very long distances, up to thousands of kilometers, by currents. Their fossilized remains found in seafloor core samples reflect ocean temperatures that are significantly different from where they were found. The researchers discovered that the effect of the drift could be up to 3° Celsius.

“The idea has always been that the critters record the temperature right above where they are found on the ocean floor,” says Erik van Sebille, lead author of the study and a climate scientist at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and Imperial College London. “However, these critters are so small that they are at the mercy of the currents. They could easily have drifted for thousands of kilometers during their life span.”

Studying climate conditions in the past is essential to understanding the global climate system and to predicting future climate conditions. Foraminifera live close to the ocean’s surface, where they “record” the water temperature, and, as they die, they settle to the ocean’s floor. Scientists extract sediment cores to analyze the shell, which is similar to tree rings but on time scales of millions of years.

The study, titled “Ocean currents generate large footprints in marine palaeoclimate proxies,” was published in the March 4 issue of the journal Nature Communications. In addition to Paris and van Sebille, the paper’s coauthors include Chris Turney from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and Imperial College London; Paolo Scussolini and Frank Peeters from VU University Amsterdam; Jonathan V. Durgadoo and Arne Biastoch from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Germany; Wilbert Weijer from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico; and Rainer Zahn from Institucio´ Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA) in Spain.

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