Principal Investigators




Observing Subsystem

Dr. Weisberg Dr. Robert Weisberg is an experimental physical oceanographer at the Ocean Circulation Group, University of South Florida College of Marine Science engaged in ocean circulation and ocean-atmosphere interaction studies in the tropics, on continental shelves, and in estuaries. His research presently emphasizes the West Florida Continental Shelf (WFS) and the interactions that occur between the shelf and the deep-ocean and between the shelf and the estuaries. Through his Ocean Circulation Group he maintains a coordinated program of real-time, in-situ measurements, analyses, and numerical circulation models aimed at describing and understanding the processes that determine WFS water properties.
Merz Clifford R. Merz (Cliff) is the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Dialytics, Inc. Founded in 2003, Dialytics is a technology start-up, specializing in the development and commercialization of products for the marine environment. Under Mr. Merz’s direction, Dialytics has entered into an exclusive, worldwide, technology license agreement with the University of South Florida’s (USF) Division of Patents and Licensing to develop and commercialize innovative technologies within the Ocean Energy Sector. Cliff has over 20 years of diverse experience encompassing the application of advanced engineering knowledge and research techniques to the design, development, and operation of conventional and state-of-the-art electronic technologies for large-scale Ocean Observing, hydrologic, water quality, and meteorological monitoring networks.
Leonard Dr. Leonard's is Department Chair of Geography and Geology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.  Her areas of expertise are physical sedimentology and marine geology. Her research focuses on sediment transport mechanisms in coastal environments ranging from tidal creeks and inlets, to large estuaries and the continental shelf. Current research projects include biogeochemical fingerprinting of phosphorus sources in anthropogenically impacted watersheds, sediment dispersal in tidal marshes of the Chesapeake Bay (and other SEUS marsh systems), marsh restoration using dredge spoil material, sediment transport during storms on the mid continental shelf, and the impact of river dredging on tidal amplitude and marsh sedimentation in the Cape Fear River.
Savidge Dr. Savidge, Associate Professor at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, has research interests that include observational physical oceanography; dynamics of episodic, seasonal, and mean processes accounting for the transport of water and the material it contains through different ocean regimes, from open ocean to shelf settings. Boundary current variability, effects on coastal circulation effects, wind and buoyancy effects at subtidal, tidal, and super-tidal temporal scales. In most cases, she has endeavored to select problems that have cross-disciplinary significance.

Dr. Shay’s is a Professor of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.  His research interests include: upper ocean response and coupled atmosphere-ocean interactions, coastal ocean circulation processes, surface wave current interactions and atmospheric and oceanic boundary layer interactions. These phenomena are studies largely from experimental and empirical perspectives using measurements from aircraft, satellite, buoy and land based radar (i.e. Wellen Radar).


Dr. Seim, Professor with the Marine Sciences Program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,  focuses on understanding the processes that control the circulation and water mass structure of estuaries and the coastal ocean. The principal tools used in his research are observational studies and computer-based modeling. His general areas of interest include ocean observing systems, turbulence and mixing processes, internal hydraulics, subtidal and tidal dynamics, and high-frequency acoustics.


Dr. George Voulgaris is an associate professor at the University of South Carolina Marine Science Program and the Department of Geological Sciences. He is a coastal geologist with a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom, where he studied the response of beaches and inner-shelf to wave dynamics. He is the director of the Coastal Processes and Sediment Dynamics Laboratory.


Modeling Subsystem

He Dr. Ruoying He is a physical oceanographer and associate professor in the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University (NCSU). After receiving his Ph.D. from University of South Florida in 2002, he worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in 2003-2004, and moved on as a WHOI scientist from 2004 through 2006 before joining the faculty of NCSU. Dr. He's researches focus on coastal and estuarine circulation dynamics, numerical modeling, ocean state nowcast/forecast, data assimilation, air-sea coupling, and design and implementation of coastal ocean observing system. He is also active in interdisciplinary ocean research, including understanding coastal ecosystem variability and harmful algal bloom dynamics, monitoring and prediction of beach erosion and sediment transport.
Sheng Dr. Y. Peter Sheng is a Professor and Director of the Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering Program at the University of Florida where he has been since 1986. Dr. Sheng is a leader in coastal hazard and coastal ecosystem dynamics. Dr. Sheng is the Chair of Florida Coastal Ocean Observing System (FLCOOS) consortium, a Director of the South Eastern Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA), a representative on the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS), and member of  Technical Advisory Committee on 4 National Estuary Programs. Dr. Sheng’s research is focused on coastal hazard (hurricane, storm surge, and coastal inundation) and coastal ecosystem modeling and observing. He is the leader of the NOAA funded Southeastern Regional Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation Model Testbed. He has developed an integrated storm surge modeling system for various parts of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, and published many papers on storm surge and inundation.

Dr. Xie's is a professor in the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University (NCSU).  His interests include Tropical meteorology and hurricanes, air-sea interactions, and marine meteorology.

Roffer Dr. Roffer is President of Roffer's Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc. (ROFFS™ – that provides oceanographic consulting services worldwide. He received his doctorate at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. While ROFFS™ is well known for providing fisheries oceanographic services, it has been providing other oceanographic services to the oil and gas industry, academic institutions and environmental organizations for twenty years. Roffer is also involved in fisheries oceanographic research.

Roger Pugliese, Senior Fishery Biologist with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has been responsible for, or participated in, the development of fishery management plans for red drum, dolphin wahoo, pelagic Sargassum, shrimp, billfish, snapper grouper, mackerel and coral, coral reefs and live hard bottom habitat. He is responsible for meeting the Essential Fish Habitat mandates as specified in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and coordinated the development of the first Habitat Plan and Habitat Amendment for the South Atlantic Region.


Dr. Dwayne E. Porter holds a joint administration / faculty appointment with the Arnold School of Public Health (ASPH) at the University of South Carolina. Within ASPH, Dr. Porter is the Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences (ENHS). Dr. Porter is also a faculty member in the Marine Science Program and the School of the Earth, Ocean and the Environment, and administers the Geographic Information Processing Laboratory housed in the Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences. Dr. Porter also directs the activities of the NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserves System’s Centralized Data Management Office (CDMO) located in Georgetown, SC.