Media Advisory

UF experts on water quality

The following University of Florida researchers are available to speak to reporters on a range of topics related to water quality scholarship and research.

Mark Clark, associate professor, Soil and Water Sciences, UF/IFAS

Research interests: Wetlands and aquatic systems, soil quality, soil and landscape analytics

Clark’s studies aim to improve water quality and enhance ecological function of altered landscapes by investigating wetland nutrient assimilation and storage processes and ecological engineering design using wetland processes.


Matthew Cohen, associate professor, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, UF/IFAS

Research interest: Watershed hydrology and biogeochemistry with an emphasis on wetland processes

Before coming to UF, Cohen worked as a research intern with the World Agroforestry Center in Kenya and the Center for Environmental Policy and the Wetland Biogeochemistry Laboratory on research related to wetland systems, large-area soil and water assessment technologies and watershed management. At UF, he worked on development of a hydrologic observatory in the Suwannee River basin and participated in research efforts in the Everglades and North Florida.


Michael Dukes, professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, UF/IFAS; director, Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology

Research interest: Efficient use of water in irrigated systems

Dukes leads a multidisciplinary group of faculty whose mission is to conduct interdisciplinary research and provide science-based education on urban landscape practices to protect and conserve Florida's natural resources. His team has shown that properly implemented, “smart controllers” can reduce over-irrigation of real-world landscapes by nearly 50 percent.

352-392-1864, ext. 205

Karl Havens, professor, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, UF/IFAS; director, Florida Sea Grant

Research interest: Response of aquatic ecosystems to natural and human-caused stressors including hurricanes, drought, climate change, eutrophication, invasive species and toxic materials

Havens is a member of the Florida Oceans and Coastal Resources Council, which provides the Florida Legislature with an annual research plan addressing critical coastal issues; the Florida Ocean Alliance, a non-partisan organization dedicated to bringing together government, academic and private sectors in Florida to protect and enhance the coastal and ocean resources; and the Florida Institute of Oceanography. He has served as chair of the UF Oil Spill Task Force and currently is chair of the UF Oyster Recovery Team, which is dealing with the collapse of a historic oyster fishery in Apalachicola Bay.


James Jawitz, professor and associate chair, Soil and Water Sciences, UF/IFAS

Research interests: Wetlands and aquatic systems, remediation of contaminated soils, waters and aquifers, soil quality and ecosystem services

Jawitz focuses on minimizing human impacts on natural hydrologic ecosystems, including watersheds, wetlands, and aquifers by developing and applying hydro-ecological models to natural and constructed wetlands and by developing techniques for characterization and remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater


David Kaplan, assistant professor, Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment, UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering

Research interests: Ecological restoration, wetland hydrology

Kaplan is a member of the UF Watershed Ecology Lab, which focuses on linkages among the hydrological cycle, ecosystem processes and human activity to advance natural resources conservation and management. The team is focused on hydrological, ecological and human drivers of coastal change, social-ecological effects of hydroelectric dams in the Amazon and wetland, riverine and forest ecohydrology.


Jonathan Martin, professor, geology, UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Research interests: Geochemistry of water, physical and chemical hydrogeology of carbonate aquifers, sea level change and effects on coastal aquifers, weathering in deglaciated watersheds

Martin focuses on surface water and ground water interactions, which include quantity of water exchanged across the sediment-water interface, chemical influence of this exchange on both surface water and groundwater quality, diagenetic alteration of aquifer rocks and sediments and alteration of sediments through which water flows.


Kati Migliaccio, professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, UF/IFAS

Research interests: Water conservation, hydrology, irrigation in agricultural, natural and urban systems

Migliaccio has tackled the problem of growing water demands from several angles, focusing primarily on hydrology and water management. One part of her program consists of monitoring different aspects of hydrology and using this information in simulation models to explore scenarios and select optimum solutions. She also collaborates with weather and climate experts to use data resources to aid in water decision making.

352-392-1864, ext. 273

Rafael Munoz-Carpena, professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, UF/IFAS

Research interests: Hydrology and ecological systems analysis, hydrology and water quality monitoring and modeling, uncertainty and sensitivity of environmental models

In addition to traditional hydrology – studying how water moves through the environment – Munoz-Carpena incorporates ecological factors, such as the impact of water use on plants, animals and the local environment, and uses computer modeling to quantify effects and create mathematically based management tools.

352-392-1864, ext. 287

Sanjay Shukla, professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, UF/IFAS

Research interests: Water use sustainability, applying best management practices to water quality, payments associated with the use of environmental services

Based at IFAS's Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee, Shukla's many projects look at managing water and nutrient discharges from agricultural and ranching operations in terms of how to conserve water and reduce nutrient loads to the Northern Everglades region.


Arnoldo Valle-Levinson, professor, Civil and Coastal Engineering, UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering

Research interests: Effects of bathymetry on volume exchange at the mouth of semi-enclosed basins, with emphasis on estuaries, fjords, coastal lagoons and bays; bathymetric effects on wind-induced, density-induced and tidally induced exchange processes between semi-enclosed basins and the adjacent coastal ocean 

Valle-Levinson seeks to understand processes that favor ocean water intrusion into freshwater aquifers and estuaries, in particular, last-century sea-level variability and its effects on saltwater intrusion. He also has investigated the potential impact of exchange processes on nutrient fluxes, harmful algae and ichthyoplankton transport.

Arnoldo Valle-Levinson (

352-392-9537, ext. 1479