Florida Tech Names New Head of Biological Sciences

MELBOURNE, FLA.—Gordon L. Nelson, Ph.D., dean of the Florida Institute of Technology College of Science, announces the appointment of Richard B. Aronson, Ph.D., as head of the Department of Biological Sciences. Aronson replaces Mark Bush, Ph.D., who served as interim department head since Gary Wells, Ph.D., retired in July 2007.

“We’re excited about Rich’s arrival. He brings stellar credentials, proven leadership skills, and very topical and important research interests to the department,” said Nelson.

Aronson grew up in New York City. He received his bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences, summa cum laude, from Dartmouth College in 1979 and his doctoral degree in biology from Harvard University in 1985. In 1994, after completing a NATO postdoctoral fellowship in the UK and postdoctoral experiences at the Smithsonian Institution and Rutgers University, Aronson joined the faculty of the Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory in Alabama. He left his positions as senior marine scientist at the Sea Lab and professor of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama to join Florida Tech.

“With its world-class faculty, Florida Tech is a shining example of how excellence in undergraduate education and excellence in research go hand-in-hand,” said Aronson. I am thrilled to be here.”

Aronson continues to hold adjunct appointments at the Smithsonian Institution, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is president of the International Society for Reef Studies.

Aronson’s research focuses on the effects of climate change on marine communities. He uses the fossil record in combination with ecological studies to predict how climatic warming will promote disease outbreaks on coral reefs and biological invasions in Antarctica. Related interests include work on the efficacy of marine-protected areas in the Florida Keys during a time of rapidly changing climate, and the salt marshes of the southeastern U.S. He was recently invited to give the keynote address at the meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force in Washington, D.C., on February 25, 2009.

Aronson, his wife, Lisa Young, and their two small sons now make their home in Melbourne Beach.

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