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Dr. Richard L. Iverson

Professor Emeritus
Ph.D., 1972, Oregon State University, Corvallis
Biological Oceanography
Phone: (850) 644-6205

My academic interests were in elucidating marine ecosystem dynamics including data acquisition, analysis of large, multivariate data sets, and model building. I started working with phytoplankton contained in bottles, determining their productivity and their response to light wavelengths. I obtained phytoplankton productivity, biomass, and taxonomic species data from an Alaskan fjord, from which I generated one of the first non-linear computer simualtion models to test the effects of wind-mixing of the water column upon phytoplankton productivity. After joining the FSU faculty, I worked with students and colleagues on Florida estuarine phytoplankton dynamics and Florida coastal and Caribbean seagrass distributions, including the effects of Green Turtle grazing upon turtle grass growth. During the late 1970's, I participated in a large program that elucidated the relation between marine food web components and physical fronts in the Southeastern Bering Sea in support of Walleyed Pollock production. Returning to the Atlantic Ocean, I worked on marine phytoplankton dimethylsulfide formation, a significant component of cloud condensation nuclei. During the late 1990's, NASA colleagues and I estimated global ocean phytoplankton production from satellite ocean data and a simple algorithm. Those two related papers were considered among the best published in biological oceanography with the previous 50 years of NSF funding. Several colleagues and I were able to proposed that one-third of annual global ocean mixing was a result of the swimming motions of marine life. My last marine research efforts were in directing student dissertation research in Apalachicola Bay to elucidate controls upon phytoplankton and zooplankton production in that estuary as they are affected by nutrients in river water entering the estuary. Perhaps the most important contribution I made to marine science was elucidating the primary factors that control marine fish production with a model that has been subsequently verified in the independent research of other scientists.