Message from Director

Dr. Powers

Oceans dominate the Earth and exert a major influence on atmospheric dynamics and terrestrial ecology. The wise stewardship of ocean resources is critical to the socioeconomic fabric of coastal Alabama and the nation. Key to addressing this need is the development of a well-trained scientific workforce and continued advances in research and technology. The Department offers MS and Ph.D. degrees in marine sciences with specializations in biological, chemical, physical and geological oceanography as well as marine fisheries and ecology.  Key to the success of the Department is its strong partnerships with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, which houses the majority of the Department’s research labs and offices.  

Departmental faculty are leaders in their respective fields.  Faculty study a range of life forms from microorganisms to sharks and marine mammals.  Marine Sciences faculty members continue to examine some of the most controversial subjects in the management of marine ecosystems including the current management of marine fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, causes and consequences of global climate change, and sustainability of coastal development. Faculty members share the results of their studies by publishing in the leading journals in Marine Sciences, serving on local, regional, national and international advisory boards, and reaching out to the general public through extensive outreach and education activities.

The Department is extremely competitive for federal and state research grants averaging 4-5 million dollars in new grant funding each year for the past three years.  This funding allows us to recruit excellent MS and Ph.D. students to work in this exciting field of study. Our graduate students continue to excel in their professional development as the next generation of marine scientists. Student interest in the program remains high and position are highly competitive. The Department offers three Master of Science programs (MS in Marine Sciences; MS in Marine Conservation and Resource Management, and MS in Environmental Toxicology) and a Ph.D. program (Marine Sciences). Undergraduate students may be involved through our minor in Marine Sciences.

The Department also serves as the administrative home for Center for Environmental Resiliency, an interdisciplinary organization designed to develop solutions to pressing environmental problems within the context of creating resilient and sustainable communities and ecosystems. The Center was made possible by a gift from Dr. and Mrs. Stokes.

The University of South Alabama is committed to teaching, research and service that has beneficial impacts to our state, nation, and planet. If you have an interest in Marine Sciences please consider joining us at USA. I invite you to explore our web site and contact faculty members whose interests align with yours.


Sean P. Powers, Ph.D.
Angelia and Steven Stokes Endowed Chair in Environmental Resiliency
Director and Professor, School of Marine and Environmental Sciences