REAL Impacts for the Environment

The environmental crises the world faces today are relentless. So are we. At FIU, we are taking the uncertainty out of long-term sustainability. Our globally recognized research programs develop realistic and scalable solutions to the environmental crises we face today and are the scientific foundation for preventing future ones.

FIU’s Institute of Environment — one of the largest institutes of its kind in the nation — is recognized for its innovation and its significant contributions to environmental research. Our efforts have resulted in policy decisions around the globe that are securing a more sustainable planet.

Top 50 ecology program - U.S. News and World Report - among public universities 2020

#9 in the world for positive impact - life below water - Times Higher Education 2020 Impact Rankings

Top 50 environmental sciences - by QS World University Rankings - among public universities 2020

Saving Shark and Ray Populations

Our researchers are leaders in the Global FinPrint project: the first worldwide survey of reef sharks and rays. Scientists visited more than 370 reefs and recorded 15,000 hours of video, revealing insights into the state of these species. This knowledge contributed to Belize's creation of the world's first ray sanctuary, and to a shark and ray fishing ban in the Dominican Republic. We are giving these animals a better chance of survival.

Protecting Our Water

We monitor streams, rivers, wetlands, bays and oceans and experiment with methods to make them healthier. From sea level rise and nutrient pollution in the Everglades to fish kills in Biscayne Bay to nutrient pollution in seagrass meadows, we are finding better ways to reduce threats to humans and wildlife.

Fighting for the Frogs

We are working to protect frogs from a global plague. Dr. Alessandro Catenazzi traverses the Peruvian cloud forests to study the Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis fungus that is decimating amphibian populations around the world. His work will help fellow scientists to model the spread of the disease and identify factors that could slow it down.

  • $175 million

    in external funding since 2010

  • 1,200

    peer-reviewed journal articles

  • 155

    faculty and postdoctoral researchers

Featured Faculty

We are experts in a wide range of fields. Meet some of our accomplished faculty.

  • Dr. Heithaus is a marine ecologist specializing in predator-prey interactions and the ecological importance of sharks and other large marine species. He serves as the dean of FIU's College of Arts, Sciences & Education.

  • Dr. Malone uses remote sensing and spatial and temporal models to improve our understanding of how climate and disturbances affect ecosystems' structure and function. Her research explores questions about sustainability and vulnerability to climate extremes.

  • Dr. Eirin-Lopez studies the links between global change stressors and epigenetic mechanism that allow marine species to adapt and survive. His research integrates disciplines from molecular biology to physiology and genetics.

  • Dr. Bracken-Grissom has dedicated her career to uncovering the mysteries of the ocean, working on NSF's Decapod Tree of Life project and on the team that captured the first video of a giant squid in U.S. waters.

  • Dr. Gaiser led the NSF-funded Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program for 13 years. She was also named to Florida's blue-green algae task force following toxic algae and red tide outbreaks in the state.

  • Dr. DeGennaro's groundbreaking discovery of how mosquitos zero in on our sweat provided a roadmap to creating new repellents. He is an integral part of a team working to protect military personnel from mosquito-borne diseases.

  • A water expert specializing in hydrological monitoring, Dr. Melesse organized the 2020 International Conference on the Nile and Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, bringing together experts from dozens of countries.

  • One of the world's foremost experts on seagrass ecosystems, Dr. Fourqurean is a lead scientist in the International Blue Carbon Working Group, focused on carbon captured by oceans and coastal ecosystems.

  • Dr. Butler's career of more than 30 years in the Florida Keys has yielded more than 150 scientific articles on tropical marine ecology. He focuses on habitat restoration and spiny lobster, coral reefs and sponge communities.

  • The director of the Institute of Environment, Dr. Crowl studies aquatic ecology, predator-prey interactions, food webs and urban streams. He is principal investigator for the NSF-funded CREST CAChE project on aquatic chemistry and contamination.

  • Dr. Liu's research on plants explores mating systems, plant-animal interactions and invasive species. She leads several projects on the conservation and restoration of endangered orchids in southwestern China.

  • Dr. Gardinali leads an environmental chemistry and analytical mass spectrometry research group, developing new methods for detecting low-level environmental contamination.