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Phone  850-599-3413
Fax  850-561-2626

Office of Communications
1601 S. Martin Luther King Blvd.
200 Lee Hall
Tallahassee, Florida 32307
Oil Spill Faculty Experts

Florida A&M University has more than 15 faculty members contributing to The Oil Spill Academic Task Force.  This Task Force is comprised of scientists and scholars from institutions in the State University System of Florida as well as from four of Florida’s private universities working in collaboration with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Randall Abate
College of Law

Area of expertise: Teaches courses in environmental law, international and comparative law and constitutional law. He has published widely on environment law topics with a recent emphasis on climate change law and policy.

Michael Abazinge
Environmental Sciences Institute

Area of expertise: He has developed a microencapsulation technology for delivery of biosurfactants to enhance the biodegradation of hydrocarbons.  This technology could be modified to deliver critical nutrients that are needed to enhance microbial degradation of oil. This research would be useful in the final stages of the clean up of the oil.

Ashvini Chauhan
Environmental Sciences Institute

Area of expertise: He has several projects underway in his laboratory at FAMU that span the realm of coastal and terrestrial systems with the broader objective of developing indicators to gauge ecosystem health, including climate change and even predict rehabilitation of environmentally degraded ecosystems.  His studies span from the watershed scale, to the water column within estuaries and finally to communities such as oyster microbiome — these niches can serve as indicators of impending environmental threats.

Jennifer Cherrier
Environmental Sciences Institute

Area of expertise: She has an expertise in research to better understand how C and N cycling in marine systems impacts estimates of global C flux. Research combines lab and field studies to trace C and N flow through coastal and oceanic systems by coupling nutrient concentration measurements with measurements of stable isotope and natural radiocarbon abundances. Basic biogeochemical analyses (i.e. water quality), tracing in situ oil degradation, bacterial community dynamics, Co-PI National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminitartion/FAMU Environmental Cooperative Science Center.

Clayton Clark, II
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Area of expertise: His research into economically beneficial methods of safely reducing waste volume from contaminated sites; hazardous volume reduction by chemical and physical treatment processes.  Treatment of wastes focusing on degradation of recalcitrant wastes to less hazardous forms; sonichemical degradation; dechlorination by iron and other metallic substrates. May be able to offer techniques of remediation pertaining to oil and petroleum products, especially as it deals with water quality and resources engineering.  He also may offer help in site monitoring, delineation of pollution plume, and techniques for capturing that plume.

Richard Gragg III
Environmental Sciences Institute

Area of expertise:
His research and professional interests include: the impact environmental contaminants on human health and aquatic ecosystems; environmental health disparities; environmental equity and justice; community based participatory research; and public health policy. Gragg has numerous refereed publications, professional presentations, and reports. Based on his expertise in toxicology, he I can offer assistance to the oil spill crisis, cleanup and/or recovery through understanding the toxicological effects of crude oil and its photoproducts on aquatic species. Based on his expertise in environmental justice, policy, and risk management, he can offer assistance through understanding the socioeconomic and human health impacts of crude oils and its byproducts on coastal communities, minorities, and low-income populations.

Cynthia Harris
Institute of Public Health

Area of expertise: She is a board certified toxicologist. She currently serves on the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board Human Health Effects Subcommittee. Previously, she was a branch chief with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and conducted human health assessments related to environmental contamination at Superfund and non-Superfund (RCRA) sites. Harris can offer expertise in evaluating the potential human health effects from exposure to contaminants in the oil.

Wenrui  Huang
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Area of expertise: Research experience includes coastal hydrodynamic and pollutant transport modeling, water quality modeling, integrated hydrodynamic and ecological modeling, and remote sensing of coastal water quality. Research interest for oil spill study will focus on modeling and monitoring of oil spill movement in the Florida coastal waters by integrated coastal hydrodynamic model and oil spill model. In addition, remote sensing images can be used to monitor oil spill movement and validate model predictions of oil spills.

Charles Jagoe
Environmental Science Institute
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration 
Environmental Coop Science Institute

Area of expertise: His research studies the effects of pollutants on fish and wildlife; aquatic ecology; bioaccumulation; environmental chemistry of pollutants; ecological statistics; ecological risk assessment. Potential contribution to oil spill response would be an assessment of pollutant effects on fish and wildlife; ecological risk analysis; assessment of efficacy of mitigation or cleanup efforts to ecological receptors.

Elijah Johnson
Environmental Sciences Institute

Area of expertise: Most of his work has been in the area of theoretical chemistry.  He has experience in atmospheric dispersion and the characterization of contaminants in sediments and biological systems. Johnson could assist with monitoring the dissipation of petroleum from coastal regions.

Primus Mtenga
FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

Area of expertise: He is a structural/materials engineer specialized in structural condition assessment retrofit design and forensic engineering.

Marcia Owens
Environmental Sciences Institute

Area of expertise: She has 22 years of experience as an environmental attorney with EPA Region 4 and City of Atlanta. Research includes contributors and inhibitors of environmental literacy in various sectors.

Sunil Pancholy
Center for Water and Air Quality

Area of expertise: Soil and water sampling and analysis; Water quality; Crop production and nutrient movements in soil and water systems. Pancholy will be able to provide assistance in analyzing effects of oil spill on coastal agriculture and inland fresh water stream quality.

Michael Thomas

Area of expertise: With over 30 years of experience in the areas of statistical and economic analysis, his areas of expertise include developing economic models to estimate public losses/gains due to public policy. Most recently, he worked with Frank Lupi of Michigan State University to develop a state-wide economic model to evaluate the economic importance of public boating and provide a dynamic method to compare the relative efficiency of alternative access sites. Thomas worked as an investigator to develop the econometric model necessary for a multi-million dollar lawsuit brought by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1994 to recover economic losses due to the 1993 oil spill in Tampa Bay, Fla. At some point, state and federal officials will make claims for public losses, this model, and another currently being developed for fishing, could provide these officials the estimate of oil related damage necessary for the legal actions.

He Zhong
College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture

Area of expertise: He can could assist with detecting and monitoring PAHs in marine organisms (fish, shrimp etc.). Zhong can determine the toxicological and ecotoxicological impact of the oil residue.