Dean’s Welcome Message

Jacqueline Dixon - Dean, USF College of Marine Science
Jacqueline Dixon – Dean, USF College of Marine Science

Welcome to the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science (CMS).  In the 50 years since its official beginning, CMS has expanded in size and capability to become an internationally recognized leader in ocean science and graduate education.  We have 26 faculty, ~100 graduate students, and about 100 technical and administrative staff.  CMS researchers secure ~$15M in annual research expenditures.

With the vision of a unified global, natural system in mind, the College seeks to build interdisciplinary research teams in collaboration with our local, national, and international partners.  CMS scientists work in every ocean on issues of global and regional relevance, with research strengths, including sustainable fisheries, red tides, coral reef health, sea level rise, coastal flooding, ocean acidification, trace metals in seawater, paleoclimate, seafloor mapping, and sensor development.


The work we do at the College of Marine Science is more relevant than ever.  Over the last year, the use of the word “Unprecedented” in the news is itself “Unprecedented”

  • Unprecedented floods, hurricanes, and wildfires.
  • Unprecedented atmospheric temperatures – 16 of the 17 warmest years in the instrumental record since the late 1800s have occurred in the period from 2001 to 2016.
  • Unprecedented ocean temperatures – The ocean heat content has increased at all depths since the 1960s and surface waters have warmed by about 1.3° per century globally since 1900.
  • Unprecedented atmospheric CO2 concentrations greater than 400 ppm, which has caused the ocean to become 30% more acidic.

To address the importance of the ocean as the major driver in the weather – climate system, CMS researchers use satellites, in situ measurements and models to study where heat is stored in the ocean, how it is transported from the surface ocean to deeper layers, the processes driving these changes, and the chemical and physical consequences.

In 2010, we witnessed an unprecedented environmental disaster – the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  The College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida continues to play a major role in understanding the dynamics of deep-sea petroleum blow-outs and the long-term ecosystem impacts of the 2010 disaster through our C-IMAGE international consortium funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.

Our graduate program emphasizes student success and career development.  Our educational opportunities span the core disciplines of biology, chemical, geological, and physical oceanography, as well as marine resource assessment.  Our endowment of $18 million funds 22 fellowships averaging from $9,000 to $22,000.  We have been successful in recruiting and mentoring under-represented minority students, increasing the proportion of minority students from 14% to 19% over the last five years, significantly higher than the national range of 4% to 14%.  Over the last year, our graduate students published 26 journal articles – 15 with graduate students as first author and 11 co-authored.  Graduate student proposals resulted in over $230,000 in awarded external funding.  Our students earned over 50 awards including prestigious fellowships and best presentations at professional meetings.  Two students received Fulbright Fellowships in 2017 that contributed to USF being ranked #1 in the Country by the Chronicle of Higher Education and represented 33% of Fulbrights received by USF students.

At the College of Marine Science, we are enthusiastic about research and education opportunities we offer our students and welcome you to become a part of the team.


Dean Dixon

Jacqueline Dixon
Dean, College of Marine Science

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