Ocean Science for a Better World

J. Seward Johnson, Sr., and Edwin A. Link (L-R)

J. Seward Johnson, Sr., and Edwin A. Link (L-R)

We are inherently connected to and reliant upon the oceans: They regulate weather and climate, provide most of the oxygen and stabilize the composition of the atmosphere, and feed much of the world’s population. The connection is closer still for those in coastal regions, where the effects of disruption in marine environments (e.g., oil spills, hurricanes, sea level rise) on economies, homes and lives can be profound. Our research exists within the framework of this interdependence.

From its earliest days, FAU’s Harbor Branch was fueled by the drive to overcome the technical challenges of ocean research, and Innovative Technology Development remains both a research theme and an enabling element of our other three research themes: Ocean Exploration, Understanding Marine Ecosystem Function and Wise Use of Marine Resources.

Ocean Exploration is a foundational pursuit at Harbor Branch, and we remain inspired by the innovative genius who was there when J. Seward Johnson, Sr., founded the Institute: Edwin A. Link. Link’s Man-In-Sea Program enabled countless discoveries, and our Ocean Engineering & Technology research programs continue to advance ocean exploration via optics, automation and persistent presence applications. FAU Harbor Branch also is home to the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research & Technology, which explores and studies the nation’s ocean frontiers using innovation and cutting-edge technologies.

Understanding Marine Ecosystem Function sheds light on human/oceans interdependence with information that can aid management of the relationship. Areas of specialization within our Marine Ecosystem Health research programs include coral reef and estuarine systems, harmful algal blooms and marine botany. Our Marine Mammal research programs study population health and behavioral ecology to gain insight into topics such as environmental toxins and pathogens, food web dynamics and adaptation to ecosystem change. We also conduct Ocean Dynamics & Modeling research to better understand the ways that currents, tides and other modes of water movement affect marine ecosystems and planetary processes.

Wise Use of Marine Resources seeks to cultivate the benefits that humans derive from the oceans while honoring the need to do so responsibly. Our Marine Biomedical & Biotechnology Research Program is working with marine natural products and microbes to enhance treatment of disease and to improve industrial processes. Goals of our Aquaculture & Stock Enhancement research include sustainable production of seafood and species for ecosystem restoration. FAU Harbor Branch also is the home to the Center of Excellence in Biomedical and Marine Biotechnology, which was created to support Florida researchers who are captivated by the scientific potential of the oceans for drug discovery and biotechnology applications.